A v a t a r s 9 8
Speaker's Page:
Michael Heim

Educators' Track
Avatars98 Homepage
2pm - 2:30 PST
[10pm-10:30 GMT]
Active Worlds

Michael Heim ("ommm")

will instigate a debate on the topic:

Virtual Realism

Why should virtual schools have chalkboards? Do avatars really need chairs? Why are we stuck with gravity and horizons in virtual worlds? Why not let function stimulate fantasy? Virtual worlds should be more fun than photo-realistic.

Michael Heim develops concepts for cyberspace and virtual reality. Wired magazine described Heim's work as "a warm-hearted, cool-headed meditation on computer technology." Library Journal said, "This is Marshall McLuhan with a solid grounding in philosophy." Heim's writings have been translated into Japanese, Korean, Hungarian, Polish, and German. His books include Electric Language (Yale University Press, 1987), The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality (Oxford University Press, 1993), and Virtual Realism (Oxford University Press, 1998).

Michael Heim has presented his concepts in many venues including: the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London, SIGGRAPH '95, the Banff Centre for the Arts, the PowerPlant Gallery in Toronto, the Netherlands Institute for Design, the Incident in Switzerland, the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, the Ringling School of Design, UNESCO in Rio de Janeiro, Princeton University, and the IIE in Kyoto, Japan. During the spring of 1997, Dr. Heim was Visiting Research Professor in the Visual Construction of Reality program at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He is currently on the graduate faculty in Communication & New Media at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, where he teaches Virtual Worlds Theory and Virtual Worlds Design. Michael Heim received the Great Teacher Award from the graduating class in Computer Graphics and New Media Design at Art Center in 1995.

Michael Heim holds a doctorate in the philosophy of technology from the Pennsylvania State University in 1979 and also holds a Masters Degree in Philosophy from Northern Illinois University. He did postdoctoral research for three years abroad, first as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Freiburg and then later as President's Scholar at the University of Berlin. His first book was a translation into English of Martin Heidegger's The Metaphysical Foundations of Logic (1984). Since 1986, Heim with his wife lives in the city of Redondo Beach in Los Angeles County where he also directs the school of martial arts he founded called Tai Chi Redondo.

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