What is real, what is virtual?



Topic: Technology

I had been working on Pixar’s Cars short films since a long time, so I new by heart the village where the short stories take place: Radiator Springs. This small town, of course, didn’t exist “for real”. I always viewed it through my computer screen.

Yet, in 2012, Disney build Cars Land inside the theme park Disney California Adventure. This section was a reproduction of the Radiator Springs village of the Cars movies. When my family and I made the trip to Los Angeles, of course we went to Disneyland; when I visited Cars Land, it was unreal for me. I had never been there before, yet I knew every corner by heart. I had been there so many times… but not in reality. It was very strange.

In the same trip, we also visited Los Angeles and some of it’s surroundings: Hollywood Hills, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, etc. I remember walking down the Santa Monica pier, and on the beach. Then, the day after we got back home, I rented a video game called Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. In this game, Los Angeles was entirely re-created with astounding realism. So… there was I, walking again (or driving) along Santa Monica pier, but this time, seen through a screen. I had been there just two days before!

We are building virtual worlds that mimic reality. We are also building real places that were first made in the virtual world. There will always be a frontier between the two, yet this boundary is getting strangely blurry at times.

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