Virtual America: Sleepwalking Through Paradise
Virtual America traces the complex relationship between Americans, technology, and their environment as it has unfolded over the past several centuries. Throughout history Americans have constructed mental pictures of unique places, such as the American West, that have taken on more authority than the actual gritty landscapes. This disconnect from reality is magnified by the new world of virtual realities on the computer screen, where personal immersion in interactive simulations becomes the “default” environment. Virtual America identifies the connections (or lack thereof) between our individual selves, an American identity, and the geography “out there.” John Opie examines what he calls First Nature (the natural world), Second Nature (metropolitan infrastructure/built environment), and Third Nature (virtual reality in cyberspace). He also explores how Americans have historically dreamed about a better life in daily, ordinary existence and then fulfilled it through the Engineered America of our built environment, the Consumer America of material well-being, and the Triumphal America of our conviction that we are the world's exceptional model. But these dream worlds have also encouraged placelessness and thus indifference to our dwelling in home ground. Finally, Opie explores Last Nature (a sense of place) and argues that when we identify an authentic place, we can locate authenticity of self—a reification of place and self—by their connectedness.
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Searching for Authenticity
A Brief History
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America's geography American History American Vision Annie Dillard Anthropologist on Mars antiquing authentic became become Casey century Chicago City Cohen concludes consumerism created culture Currier & Ives cyberspace Deborah Tall describes desert Destiny and Mission Disney dream dreamworld ecosystem electric engineers environment environmental epcot experience explore Fate of Place forest Freyfogle frontier Garden of Bristlecones Grand Canyon historian home place human iconic identity imagination industrial inhabit Internet John John Opie land landscape Leopold living look malls Manifest Destiny Mission in American Mississippi mountains Myth National Park natural world Nature's painting paradise philosopher photograph physical placelessness railroad region River Rydell Sacks sacred scene Second Nature sense shaped SimCity simulations sleepwalking Space and Place Spirit of Place sublime Thomas Cole Thoreau tion today's tourists trees Triumphal Turkle Turner Utopia Virtual America virtual reality West Western wilderness world's fairs wrote Yellowstone Yi-Fu Tuan York Yosemite