Panel Discussion: Real Violence and Virtual Reality

Panel Discussion: Real Violence and Virtual Reality
Jordan Wolfson, Real Violence, 2017. Installation view, Jordan Wolfson, Riverboat song, Sadie Coles HQ, London, 2017. Copyright the artist, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London. Photo: Robert Glowacki
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This discussion considers the concept of embodiment in virtual reality and how it might impact on the user’s experience of violence and the abject, beyond the illusory. Panellists are researcher Daphne Economou (University of Westminster), Mel Slater (University of Barcelona, Event Lab) and Peter Fisher (Co-founder & CTO at Khora, Partner at Khora Contemporary), with Harry Brenton (bespokeVR) chairing the discussion.

Harry Brenton has been researching and developing VR applications 15 years. He is the director of bespokeVR (, who are building machine learning tools for embodied interaction with virtual humans. He was previously a research fellow at Imperial College London where he completed a PhD in VR and medical simulation.

Daphne Economou is senior lecturer at the College of Design, Creative and Digital Industries at the University of Westminster, where she leads the BSc Digital Media Development degree and Serious Games Research Group at the School of Computer Science and Engineering. She is a Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy, and earnt her PhD in Virtual Reality Systems Design from the Manchester Metropolitan University in 2001, and her MA. in Design for Interactive Media (Multimedia), at Middlesex University in 1996. She has published a long list of papers in the area of VR and UX, she has served as program committee member in several international conferences an in June 2019 she organises the 5th Annual International Conference of the Immersive Learning Research Network (iLRN2019). Daphne has industrial experience as Human Factors Engineer at Sony Broadcast and Development Research Labs, Basingstoke UK and is a member of British Computer Society, IEEE and the British Interactive Media Association (BIMA).

With a technical background in 3D graphics and animation, and a strong interest in contemporary art, Peter Fisher is in many ways a bridge from the virtual world to the real world at Khora Contemporary. He is in charge of the production process, creating engaging, high-quality content within a fast-moving new medium, in collaboration with artists.

Mel Slater is Distinguished Investigator at the University of Barcelona in the Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology. He is co-Director of the Event Lab (Experimental Virtual Environments for Neuroscience and Technology). His background is computer science in the field of computer graphics and virtual reality. He started a VR research group at what is now Queen Mary, University of London in 1990, and joined the Department of Computer Science at UCL in 1996 where he founded the Virtual Environments and Computer Graphics group, and was Professor of Virtual Environments from 1997. He is currently in a one-year part-time appointment as Immersive Fellow with London's Digital Catapult. Slater is a co-Founder of Virtual Bodyworks S.L.