REFRESH#4

The REFRESH#4 conference on Design, Arts and Technology has taken place from November 10th to 14th 2021. The fourth edition focussed on the topics «Immersive Journalism», «Immersive Play», «Digital Identities», «Digital Doubles» and «Techno-Biological Futures». The conference featured keynote speeches including panel discussions with national and international guests as well as a large exhibition have been part of the conference. 

Photographs of the conference have been published and can me viewed in this gallery. All photo credits are with Regula Bearth, ZHdK 2021.

Lab Insights at IAS, Photo by Regula Bearth, ZHdK 2021

The Immersive Arts Space hosted the Lab Insights and a VR exhibition. Team members offered insights into the projects Shifting Realities (explorations within the intersection of reality and virtuality), Neural Volumetric Capture (experimental methods for capturing photorealistic 3D models), Digital Twins (development of animated digital avatars based on photogrammetry and Meta Humans) and cineDesk (a real-time collaborative simulation tool for the development of film scenes, VR experiences and games in 3D spaces). 

Credits:
Multiuser VR: Chris Elvis Leisi, Oliver Sahli
Helium Drones/ SAR: Martin Fröhlich, Max Kriegleder,
Joel Gähwiler, Roman Jurt, Mariana Grüning
Volumetric Capture: Florian Bruggisser
cineDesk: Norbert Kottmann, Valentin Huber
Sound Design: Luca Magni
Lights: Sébastien Schiesser
Project Lead: Martin Fröhlich
Production: Kristina Jungic
Head of Unit: Christian Iseli


Shifting Realities

In this research project the artistic potential of simultaneously experienceable perspectives in Virtual Reality (VR) and Spatial Augmented Reality (SAR) is investigated. In a room that is transformed into an adventure landscape by means of image projections, part of the visitors use VR goggles and immerse themselves in a subjective experience, while the other part experiences the scenery from a spectator position. The VR users find a task in their world that they try to solve together. Based on their behavior, they are perceived by the other participants as actors in a performance. The interplay of these different perspectives creates scope for new practices and forms of expression in Extended Reality (XR).  

The following pairs of opposites serve as parameters for exploration:
– Storytelling vs. Game Mechanics 
– Virtual vs. Augmented
– Virtual vs. Real
– Binaural vs. Spatial Audio

The explorative research focuses at the interfaces defined by the pairs of opposites above. Through them, differences in perspective, shifts in perception, and the extent of interactivity can be shaped and controlled. The primary goal is the development of prototypical unique solutions in limited subareas. An extensive production, which includes the interaction of all components, will be implemented in a medium-term time frame.

Team:
Stella Speziali, Florian Bruggisser, Oliver Sahli, Norbert Kottmann, Valentin Huber, Martin Fröhlich, Sébastien Schiesser, Chris Elvis Leisi

Lab Insights

During REFRESH #4, team members offered insights into the projects Shifting Realities (explorations within the intersection of reality and virtuality), Neural Volumetric Capture (experimental methods for capturing photorealistic 3D models), Digital Twins (development of animated digital avatars based on photogrammetry and Meta Humans) and cineDesk (a real-time collaborative simulation tool for the development of film scenes, VR experiences and games in 3D spaces). 

Lab Insights took place on Nov 11th and 10th 2021 at the Immersive Arts Space.


Focal Field

Jordan Juras & Davide Luciani are Artists in Residence 2021 at the Immersive Arts Space and ICST.

Focal Field explores the spectrum of presence felt in augmented sonic reality – from the intimacy of closeness to the abstracted relation between disembodied voice, sound, and space. Perceptual relations between the real and virtual are tightened by situating augmented reality sound within synthetic reverberant architectures, and reinforcing localisation through light. The installation engages with our necessity to rationalise any aural manifestation. These fields of fragmentation – between the spectrums of connection and disconnection – have led the duo to draft a sound space where the voice, the Phonè, and its experience become the object and subject of aesthetic speculation.

The presentations took place on Thursday, October 22nd 2021.


Immersive Landscapes in Art and Film

Photo by Jyrgen Üeberschär

In the Z-Module “Immersive Landscapes in Art and Film” in September 2021, students from the fields of design, film, theatre and fine arts dealt with photogrammetry, virtual reality and 3D sound. Within two weeks, the groups developed three different immersive landscapes:

– Using virtual reality glasses, an actor could discover a walk-in visual scenery by means of the sense of touch and change it by interacting with virtual objects.
– Real hands became moving digital sculptures in a planetary virtual reality landscape using photogrammetry and motion capture.
– White rigid bodies became transformers of an abstract soundscape via motion capture in a participatory performance in immersive arts space.

In addition to engaging with transdisciplinary art and film projects, the students were able to test and evaluate the latest ‘interactive experience’ with Birdly at Somniacs in a field trip.

Photo by Jyrgen Üeberschär

Teaching Staff:
Miriam Loertscher (Institute for Performing Arts and Film)
Thomas Isler (Department Fine Arts)
Jyrgen Ueberschär (Departement Fine Arts)
Valentin Huber (Department Performing Arts and Film/ Immersive Arts Space)
Stella Speziali (Immersive Arts Space) 
Eric Larrieux (Immersive Arts Space)

Power and Presence

Diploma project, MA Game Design, by Oliver Sahli

Power and Presence explores meaningful and empowering interaction in virtual reality and how it can be implemented as game mechanics without breaking the feeling of being in another world.  A critical analysis of game design theories and how they need to be applied to VR is demonstrated through a game that uses phonetic interaction.

Oliver Sahli, research associate at the Immersive Arts Space and graduation student in Master in Game Design, showcased his project Power and Presend within the diploma exhibition of the ZHdK in June.

Virtual Real World

Diploma project, MA Game Design, by Chris Elivis Leisi

In today’s VR games, the body often serves as the controller. However, when the player enters the virtual world, the connection to the physical environment is often lost. This master’s thesis deals with immersion mechanics in VR and reveals the potentials that arise when one’s own home can be integrated into the virtual world as a play area.

Chris Elvis Leisi, research associate in the Immersive Arts Space and graduate student in Master in Game Design, exhibited his graduation project Virtual Real World within the diploma exhibition of the ZHdK in June.

black box fading

© 2020 Meldoy Chua

Diploma performance, MA Transdisciplinarity by Melody Chua

black box fading, a performance for human, sensor-augmented flute (chaosflöte), and improvisation machine (AIYA), is an immersive experience that draws upon the performance interplay between human and machine to craft a narrative that manipulates perceptions of human-machine agency and human-machine interactions in a neosurrealist environment. The work is a hybrid setting between performance and installation, and between virtual reality and live events, where live reactive sounds and visual projections, shifting perceptions of space and scale, and unconventional 360° editing techniques contribute to the sensation of continuously negotiable dynamics between human and machine as well as the disruption of traditional performance hierarchies.

Crew

Melody Chua – concept, instrument, performance
Valentin Huber: cinematographer 360° camera
Eric Larrieux: sound engineer
Sébastien Schiesser: technical manager, IAS