What is reality? Really?

As the terms concerning reality and fiction has been fascinating me for a while, I was intrigued to be a “victim” of getting my senses hijacked in the Riken Brain Science Institute in Tokyo. New layers of reality revealed itself and made me question: What is reality?


Prof. Naotaka Fujii is the team leader of the Adaptive Intelligence Faculty at the Riken Brain Science Institute in Tokyo. Prof. Fujii and his companions are currently working on developing technology that can discriminate between real and fake reality. Through manipulation, or hijacking of my visual and auditive senses, and  by including the “real” sense of touch, they are able to make me doubt and question my conventional concept of reality. “Reality is what you believe” says Prof. Fuji.

And I believed it all. Pretty much. Prof. Fuji team of researchers are shifting between recorded and live material. Though a helmet that contain both a video screen and headphones, they have completely control over my visual and auditive senses. What I see and hear are different scenes, of which, I don’t know are real or not. It is when the sense of touch are included as a layer, I start to believe the fiction. Or more correct, start to doubt whether it is fiction or reality. In general I am VERY confused, VERY scared and VERY entertained – all at the same time.

What are the possibilities of the further development of this technology and why am I interested in combining this with art? Probably because I don’t know exactly how this can be done at this point. My sensation is only that this combination of technology, art and science can be useful in various fields such as for instance treatment within psychology, research within sociology, and in education and entertainment.  Are Prof. Fuji and his team now developing what will be the future way of not only viewing but experiencing film/theatre/dance? How could this make us perceive art differently? And also, how will this specific research of the brain influence future generations perceptions of reality?

re·al·i·ty  (rl-t)

n. pl. re·al·i·ties

1. The quality or state of being actual or true.
2. One, such as a person, an entity, or an event, that is actual: “the weight of history and political realities” (Benno C. Schmidt, Jr.)
3. The totality of all things possessing actuality, existence, or essence.
4. That which exists objectively and in fact: Your observations do not seem to be about reality.

Relating to or being a genre of television or film in which a storyline is created by editing footage of people interacting or competing with one another in unscripted, unrehearsed situations.