Tamiko Thiel   Online Portfolio









Theory &


Theory and Suggested Readings

These are the texts that I consider important for my own art practice, whether in video, installation, or in Virtual and Augmented Reality, and which I often recommend in my teaching.

Some of them are articles I have written based on explorations in my own works; others are formative texts for me from many different fields. What they have in common is an interest in dramatic structure in time and a concern with spatial experience, and how these can be used to create emotional impact and engagement while conveying cultural, historic or political content.

My search for creating dramatic structure in abstract videos in the late 1980s led me to look at how music can provoke emotional responses in us without concrete references to "real" objects, characters, story narratives etc. This work stood me in good stead when I started working with interactive virtual reality, in which the narrative is of necessity user-driven and lacks the linear beginning-climax-ending format of classical drama theory.

I have left out reviews and essays that are on my work but might not directly describe issues related to this body of theory. They can all be found in my CV under Publications and Reviews.


Videos of selected interviews and talks

General but very important background readings:

Digital art, virtual and augmented reality survey books:

  • Naimark, Michael. "VR/AR Fundamentals I - VI," 2018.

    A series of 6 lectures that are deep, to the point and still accessible to non-engineers, developed as visiting faculty at NYU Shanghai in 2018. Michael Naimark is a producer, inventor, artist and scholar in the fields of VR and new media art. As an actual art and tech practitioner, his writings are much more accurate and predictive of the future than the cultural theorists who don't have to back up their wild imaginings with actual working new media experiences. READ THIS.

  • Manovich, Lev. The Language of New Media, 2001.
    A general text that puts "new" and digital media in historic context.

  • Paul, Christiane. Digital Art, Thames and Hudson World of Art. London. Third edition, 2015.
    A good survey of all forms of digital art, including VR and AR.

  • Lieser, Wolf. The World of Digital Art, Ullman/Tandem Verlag, Koenigswinter, Germany, 2010.
    See also Art Pocket Digital Art, both available in multiple languages.
    A good survey of all forms of digital art, including VR (but too early for AR).

  • Lanfranco Aceti, Richard Rinehart, Ozden Sahin, Editors. Not Here Not There, Parts 1 & Part 2.
    Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Volume 19, 2013. The first comprehensive survey of AR art.

  • Morey,Sean and Tinnell, John, Ed. Augmented Reality: Innovative Perspectives across Art, Industry, and Academia, Parlor Press, Anderson, SC, USA, 2017.
    NOTE: While the book is very good, much of the material is from before 2012 and will seem a bit dated for its 2017 publication date.

Augmented Reality - theory:

Virtual Reality - theory: