“Pygmalion” losing yourself in virtual reality

Johnny Dollar
2 min readNov 19, 2020

I made this piece in a period of isolation during the covid lock-down. After recently buying a Virtual Reality headset, to make new artwork and engage with this emerging VR technology and the growing “Metaverse” being built around it.

But, I found myself disturbed and distraught by how much my senses were fooled by this new “virtual” reality, and even worse upon removing the headset, being disappointingly aware of my true physical reality.

This technology has many obvious uses such as training, remote operations, long-distance medical care, digital art, gaming and entertainment, pornography, warfare, etc…

The addictive potential for distraction and escapism from the real world and real-life is by far from the worst hazard this coming paradigm can bring. There is a very real danger in the ceding of our senses to the developers, coders, more and more to mega-corporations, the owners and controllers of the data and technology.

Over the last half-century, governments, marketers, and big corporations have used the addictive nature of television and similar online media to program us to not only buy their goods but to socialize and program children and adults how to think and behave.

Facebook has acquired Oculus, a leading provider of VR headset technology. Facebook’s entire business model and its vast wealth comes from harvesting and controlling its users’ data.

Note that back in 2014, Facebook performed a massive psychological experiment on its users, manipulating their news feeds to determine effects on their emotions. It justified this as research defined by the terms of use.

By the way, I have a Oculus Quest VR Headset for sale, gently used

More information on this experiment can be found in the article “Experimental Evidence Of Massive-Scale Emotional Contagion Through Social Networks” published in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. https://www.pnas.org/content/111/24/8788.full



Johnny Dollar

Crypto-anarchist , cypherpunk inspired artist exploring themes of privacy, surveillance, copyright, hive-mind thinking, virtual-reality, and identity.