“These people, as well as wanting the vote and representation in Parliament, were slightly troubled by technological developments, which were a contribution to factory automation and were taking jobs away from them,” says Collishaw.
“I like the idea that once you look out the window and see these very angry people smashing windows, and then turn back into that cozy room, it has a tainted quality to it, because the social implication of these amazing innovations may not be so good for the guys outside on the cold street.”
This dichotomy continues today, he says. “We are engaged in all this wonderful progress, but there are inevitable social repercussions to it,” warns Collishaw. “Today, with the whole digital revolution—which is automation on a whole other scale—that trouble is here again.” Virtual reality is certainly opening up experiences that until now weren’t achievable. Yet, just as Fox Talbot could not have predicted what doors photography would open, perhaps VR’s true implications and potential have not yet been revealed.