This article investigates the body, embodiment, augmented, virtual reality (AR/VR) and the virtual sublime. Through AR/VR one negotiates virtual worlds, often with a feeling of endless possibility and sublimity. This experience can lead to the danger of being swallowed up by the sublime. However, instead of being confronted by nature and the immensity of the skies, the virtual sublime references technology, infinitely zooming into microscopic and atomic structures, yet still shaking our sense of our world. The concepts of virtuality, digital materiality, the analogue/digital divide, an AR/VR spectrum, essentialism, sensorial sensuality and avatar instantiation will be explored, concluding with an analysis of the senses and the natural extension of sensorial engagement—affect. This article proposes that the heightened sensations of an AR/VR encounter lend themselves to the sublime. However, the deficit of AR/VR sensuality due to truncated sensorial input leads to feelings of disaffection and disconnection. The residual effect translates into a longing for a heightened engagement and becomes a yearning for the sensual input of physicality. Yearning therefore becomes a defining attribute of the virtual sublime. These ideas are considered in light of the philosopher Henri Bergson’s concepts of the absolute and the relative.
Part of the book: Virtual Reality and Its Application in Education