The computer's ability to immerse a user in virtual image spaces "is not the revolutionary innovation its protagonists are fond of interpreting it to be," Grau writes. "The idea of virtual reality only appears to be without a history; in fact, it rests firmly on historical art traditions." Grau (lecturer in art history at Humboldt University in Berlin, associate professor at the Kunstuniversitat Linz in Austria and leader of the German Science Foundation's project on immersive art) traces the lineage of virtual reality as far back as the frescoes of a villa in Pompeii.
Editors of Scientific American Review "...Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion puts forth the sort of provocative insights that any Newromancer fan can appreciate." — Wired "Grau has created a volume that will likely be used as a canonical text in the study of virtual reality...." — Patrick Lichty, Intelligent Agent "Grau traces the lineage of virtual reality as far back as the frescoes of a villa in Pompeii." — Scientific American "Grau's Virtual Art opens the door onto a significant new approach to media analysis by focusing in depth on a particular kind of digital art—the attempt to create immersive environments. The combination of media archeology and careful analysis of both the possibilities and limitations of the impulse to put the viewer inside the artwork will make this book a valuable resource to both practitioners and theoreticians." —Stephen Wilson, Professor of Conceptual and Information Arts, San Francisco State University, and author of Information Arts "Highly original ..."