Illuminated Flying Objects (2021)

Photo by Christian Iseli © ZhdK, 2021

Interdisciplinary workshop with BA students (Z-module), Sept. 2021

The workshop with the German title Tanz der fliegenden Lichtobjekte offered an introduction into the basic technical infrastructure and into current research activities of the Immersive Arts Space. The students designed and implemented prototypes of three-dimensional media installations with helium drones, spatial projections and 3D audio. They constructed their own zeppelin models, developed control modalities and designed video textures for them. After two weeks three immersive experiences were presented with a variety of different artistic and narrative approaches. The workshop is based on the findings and methods of the artistic research project Helium Drones.

Photo by Christian Iseli © ZhdK, 2021

Micaela Brazerol, Julia Huerlimann, Jana Meyer, Tamina Kronenberg, Yannick Meyer, Laura Nan, Carla Opetnik, Fabio Saccani, Michael Schlapbach, Sophia Strickerschall, Janosch Tillich, Violetta Vigh

Teaching staff:
Martin Fröhlich (head of the workshop, Immersive Arts Space)
Roman Jurt (Design & Technology Lab)
Serena Cangiano (Head of Fablab Supsi, Lugano)
Stella Speziali, (Immersive Arts Space)
Lukas Sander (MA Stage Design)
Johannes Schütt (Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology)

Illuminated Flying Objects are featured in the Annual Report 2021 by ZHdK. Read full article [here]

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)

Dreams & Dystopia

Photo by Thomas Isler ©ZHdK 2020

Interdisciplinary module with BA students, Aug/Sept. 2020 

The two-week workshop Dreams & Dystopia (Immersive Landscapes II) focused on the creation of cinematic landscapes (artificial, urban or natural spaces) for three-dimensional media such as spatial projection or virtual reality. Artistic approaches from painting, photography, film and CGI were taught and the differences worked out interactively with the students.

Teaching staff:
Thomas Isler, Department of Fine Arts
Miriam Loertscher, Department of the Performing Arts and Film
Jyrgen Ueberschär, Department of Fine Arts,
Valentin Huber, Stella Speziali, Immersive Arts Space

Illuminated Flying Objects (2020)

Photo by Urs Berlinger ©ZHdK 2020

Interdisciplinary workshop with BA students (Z-module), Aug/Sept. 2020

Over the course of two weeks, groups of students from different art and design programs, conceived and constructed helium drones (airships or balloons with drone navigation control) and developed a spatial installation concept including a 3D sound design. The illumination of the helium drones is achieved either by remote controlled moving lights or by projection mapping. The movement of the drones is controlled by a computer-aided tracking system.

The Z-module with the German title Tanz der fliegenden Lichtobjekte resulted in a variety of exciting flying objects, including a large floating manta ray. The workshop is based on the findings and methods of the artistic research project Helium Drones.

Teaching staff:
Martin Fröhlich (Immersive Arts Space)
Roman Jurt (Design & Technology Lab)
Nadia Fistarol (MA&BA stage design)
Johannes Schütt (Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology)


© ZHdK 2020

«Have you ever wondered how a bat perceives the world?» BATVISION offers the chance to playfully explore how bats use echo-location to detect their surroundings. The VR-experience visualizes the bat’s auditory sensation and makes it more tangible. Surrounded by complete darkness, the virtual world only becomes visible when the users start shouting. BATVISION simulates the ultrasonic navigation of bats, enables new forms of perception and raises the awareness for an endangered species.

BATVISION is a collaboration between the ZHdK Industrial Design program and the Immersive Arts Space. In their bachelor thesis Eliane Zihlmann and Raffaele Grosjean developed the concept of the VR experience and the associated hardware design. They were supported by IASpace staff members Oliver Sahli (programming, visual implementation, interaction control), Chris Elvis Leisi (implementation of multi-user functionality) and Florian Bruggisser (3D scanning and point-cloud processing).

Performance Capture Workshop

Neil Newbon and participants during the workshop. ZHdK © 2019

The UK based company Performance Captured Academy (PCAUK) was invited to introduce the basics of Motion and Performance Capture to the participants. Neil Newbon, Performance Capture Artist and Director together with his team gave an inspiring look into the possibilities of creating characters through body language. The participants got used to their tracked body movement, played with different somatic types and shapes and learned a new on set vocabulary. Creature work as well as basic walk cycles were part of the training.The workshop endend with a performance of Newbon at the Actor/Avatar conference, where he invited performers from the workshop to join in.

The technical setup included the motion capture tracking system, guaranteeing real time performance of up to eight virtual characters in virtual environments. Furthermore, a face performance tracking system was used with a face rigging software.

Cast & Crew
Performance Capture Mentor Team: Neil Newbon, Saleta Losada, Frazer Blaxland (PCAUK)
Motion Capture & Unity: Tobias Baumann, Norbert Kottmann, Benjamin Thoma, Oliver Sahli, Chris Elvis Leisi
Overall Support: Martin Fröhlich
Project Lead: Corinne Soland

Immersive Landscapes

Photo by Christian Iseli © ZHdK 2019

Interdisciplinary workshop with BA students , September 2019 (Z-module)

In painting, photography and film, landscapes are often transformed into dream images and stylized into archetypes. Landscapes are contemporary witnesses of collective longings and dystopias. With the new possibilities of virtual reality and immersive media, they can become overwhelming media experiences. In the workshop, real landscapes or self-built miniature landscapes were captured and prepared for VR experiences or spatial projection mapping. In both formats, the results appeared in the three-dimensional space.

Project lead: Thomas Isler, Miriam Loertscher
Lecturers: Jyrgen Ueberschär, Norbert Kottmann, Simon Peter Pfaff, Martin Fröhlich
In cooperation with the Immersive Arts Space.
Students: Giulia Hess, Yangzom Sharlhey, José Manuel Zacate Lizárraga, Aylin Cagri Acikel, Nemo Bleuer, Suphansa Buraphalit, Yvonne Haberstroh, Sonjoi Nielsen, Vanja Victor Tognola, Danuka Ana Tomas, Flavia Trachsler.

Happy Robots (Pilot)

Motion Capture Shooting for the film HUMAN RESOURCES. (Photo by David Oesch, ZHdK 2018)

Students from the ZHdK departments of Film, Contemporary Dance, Game Design, Interaction Design, Sound Engineering and Composition (for Film, Theatre and Media), together with students studying Animation at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, realised individual projects using the “Motion Capture” technique. Their projects were linked together in a common story world.
The Happy Robots pilot project was presented on 22 September 2018 as part of ZHdK Highlights. In addition to seeing films and dance performances, visitors could immerse themselves in the world of Happy Robots through gaming and an augmented reality exhibition.
For the individual projects within the Happy Robots story world, please refer to the to the special Showcase page.
As a pilot project, Happy Robots helped evaluate and plan for the ZHdK-wide Immersive Arts Space, through which the artistic examination of new technology in research and teaching is promoted.

MoCap explorations. (Photo by Martin Fröhlich / ZHdK 2018)
Project lead: Michael Schaerer
Lecturers: René Bauer, Sven Bergmann, Georg Bringolf, Manuel Gerber, Tom Gerber, Olav Lervik, Julian Oberbeck, Max Rheiner, Michael Schaerer, Christian Schwaller
Technical support & programming: Martin Fröhlich, Norbert Kottmann, Marco Quandt, Simon Broggi, Ignasi Duelo, Simon Pfaff, Luca Tomasi
Production manager IASpace@Highlights: Andreas Birkle
Production assistant: Kristina Jungic
Dance rehearsal with live visuals. (Photo by Martin Fröhlich, ZHdK 2018)