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.


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


Diploma project, Master Transdisciplinarity, by Bojan Milosevic

The use of human data in combination with computer algorithms creates a kind of post-human entity. In form of an improvisational dance performance, Chimaera explores the interaction between a performer and his avatar – a human-machine hybrid. The performance took place in March in the Immersive Arts Space and was streamed live.

Bojan Milosevic (project leader, audio and video coding)
Petra Rotar (dance, choreography)
Carmen Stüssi (dramaturgy)
Patrick Müller (mentoring)
Tobias Baumann (support motion capture)
Eric Larrieux (support 3D sound)
Schiesser Sébastien (IAS technician)
Martin Fröhlich (support projection mapping

Floating in Dancing Lights

Photo by Regula Bearth © ZHdK 2020

Floating in Dancing Lights is a mesmerizing dance performance featuring a dancer and a flying swarm of objects, illuminated by means of Spatial Augmented Reality. The performance represents the tentative culmination of an internal project of the Immersive Arts Space which offers a do-it-yourself framework for designing and building remotely controllable helium drones.

Preview video by Urs Berlinger & Hubert Schmelzer, ZHdK ©2020

Floating in Dancing Lights was part of the artistic research project Helium Drones. The performances premiered at the REFRESH#3 conference in September 2020.

Martin Fröhlich (project lead), Max Kriegleder (robotics, motion control), Roman Jurt (rapid prototyping, construction), Serena Cangiano (ideation).

Denise Lampart, (choreography), Naomi Khamihigashi (dancer), David Peña (assistant to choreographer), Ben Vorhar (costume design), Luca Magni, Eric Larrieux (sound).

A Day at the Beach

Photo by Regula Bearth, ZHdK ©2020

REFRESH #3 Sept 18, 2020, Immersive Arts Space

The performance A Day at the Beach explores the use of 3D audio and projection mapping to achieve a sense of immersion without isolating the participants from the real world and thus enabling an imaginary fantasy world to come to life. In in order to transport the participants into this virtual world, multiple levels of 3D audio and projection mapping are employed, both directly onto umbrellas, as well as throughout the room itself.
The goal is to create exploratory, interactive sonic worlds, where the participants’ behaviour (relative to each other and the environment) shape the sonic and visual experience. These environments are best experienced from directly underneath the umbrellas.

At the REFRESH conference, A Day at the Beach demonstrated some early results of the ongoing research project The Umbrella Project. – Watch the teaser video.

Crew: Eric Larrieux (project lead), Stella Speziali, Martin Fröhlich, Corinne Soland, Mariana Vieira Grünig


Photo by Urs Beglinger, ZHdK @2020

Dance, motion-tracking, live projections, sounds and a lot of heavy fog: by means of advanced technology, “state: lucid” combines installational and performative elements with a holistic, immersive experience.

The premiere of Robi Voigt’s diploma project state: lucid took place on November 1st, 2020, with further performances on the following two days, in cooperation with the Swiss Digital Days.

Robi Voigt – concept, installation, staging, video
Mira Studer – dance, choreography
Stella Speziali – interaction design
Friederike Helmes – costumes, lighting, collaboration installation
David Eliah Bangerter – composition, sound
Stefanie Olbort – dance, choreography
Line Eberhard – the eye from outside

Technical support: Martin Fröhlich, Tobias Baumann, Eric Larrieux, Viktoras Zemeckas, Hans-Jürg Hofman, Matthias Röhm, Lukas Keller, Thomas Utzinger, Michel Weber, Lucien Sadkowski, Dominik Fedier.

ZHdK Research Day (2019)

Discussing previsualization in film production with Christian Iseli (Photo by Betty Fleck, ©ZHdK 2019)

The Research Day of the Zurich University of the Arts in 2019 was dedicated to the Research Cycle. Two workshops took place in the Immersive Arts Space:

WORKSHOP 1, November 28th 2019
Actors, Avatars and the Countenance: About the many faces of the SNF research project Actor and Avatar. Prof. Dr. Dieter Mersch, Prof. Anton Rey

WORKSHOP 3, November 28th 2019
Knowledge Transfer into Education and Public, based on the projects Expedition 2 Degrees, Virtual Production und Virtually Real. Jonas Christen, Prof. Niklaus Heeb, Prof. Christian Iseli

Art and Digital Change (2019)

Experimental staging concepts with virtual charactes. (Photo by Davide Arrizoli / ZHdK ©2019).

Thursday, 7 November 2019
ZKB Freiraum, Bahnhofstr. 9, 8001 Zurich

At a lunchtime event, Christian Iseli, head of the ZHdK Immersive Arts Space, and Melody Chua, ZHdK student and co-founder of Null-state, Inc., talked about the significance of digital change for art and culture and provided insights into projects of the Immersive Arts Space.

A cooperation between the Zurich University of the Arts (Z-Cubator and Game Design) and the Zürcher Kantonalbank (Cantonal Bank of Zurich).

Hosted by Z-Kubator und Büro Züri

Phenomenology of the Third Body (2019)

Perfomance Lecture by Kamran Behrouz

‘Breathe’ is the name of my Motion Capture avatar —aesthetically related to the concept of “body without organs”—designed as part of my PhD research entitled ‘cosmopolitics of the body’. This research deals with the performativity of queer/trans/nonbinary bodies in exile, diaspora and refugee camps.

The performance lecture Phenomenology of the Third Body reflects on the creation of this avatar as part of this research. It poses several philosophical and psychoanalytical questions in relation to the performative role of VR and MoCap avatars in queer-feminist activism and art today.

The main part of this research deals with the notion of Untranslatability: for instance, the lack of sufficiently precise words to address transgender or queer people in Persian language. In this experiment the avatar realized as a new form of (alphabetic) coding language. It is considered as a third body for political intervention in order to distribute and perform the translation of those linguistic and cultural lacks which otherwise won’t get permission to be published and expressed in Iran. In fact, the avatar is an instrument to multiply, conceal and protect the identity of the performer.

The perfomance lecture took place on Thursday, October 17th 2019, at the Helmhaus in Zürich.

Website of Kamran Behrouz

Phenomenology of the Third Body is a cooperation between ZHdK PhD candidate Kamran Behrouz and the Immersive Arts Space.
IASpace support: Corinne Soland, Stella Speziali

Happy Robots Showcase (2018)

An interdepartmental pilot project with students

Happy Robots was a pilot project of Zurich University of the Arts  in cooperation with Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts – Design & Art (study field Animation). It was showcased with presentations and an exhibition, on September 22nd, 2018.

VR game by Chris Elvis Leisi and Oliver Sahli

ALAN is an interactive virtual reality experience in which you spend your first day in the Toni-Areal of the future. In a future world full of artificial intelligence, you can learn about the history and development of AI rights in the Museum of Design.  [more]

Animation short by Samantha Leung and Wesllen Gschwind

Is the life of a human being more important than the life of an artificial intelligence? And if so, why? Chased by these questions the robot KAI tries to find answers, which lead him deeper and deeper into his own consciousness.
The beginning of a journey into the mind of KAI. A game of cat-and-mouse. A decision of life or death – And the question, who is he to decide?  [more]

Human Resources 
Short film by David Oesch and Ennio Ruschetti

Dave is the last human working at Ugago. The hip, creative company offers a unique working atmosphere and a motivated A.I community. Whereas Dave despises all the group activities like free Yoga classes or finger painting, his co-workers desperately try to encourage him.   [more

Blow Off Your Steam
An augmented reality installation by Jonas Shriqui


This augmented reality installation was based on a holographic office dummy designed to reduce stress and frustration in companies. It allows its users to bend, move or exert other forces on digital images of employees. In this way, employees can let off steam without disturbing other employees. [more]

Mirror Mirr0r
Dance performance by Luca Magni, Luca Signoretti and Marion Täschler

Mirror, MirrOr is a dance performance across borders. During the performance the three dancers will learn to free themselves from their limits and the security of a rehearsed choreography and to free their inner selves through improvisation.

The dancer, a diva within his profession (Antonio Moio), enters the room together with the talented young dancer (Giorgia D’Amico). Antonio tries to impart his futuristic choreographic style to Girogia, but she cannot identify with it. Their rehearsal is interrupted by a robot (Sophie Bertschy). After some hesitation, the interactions between the dancers and the robot enable an embarkation into new worlds. Boundaries seem to be dissolved. Inner feelings are projected outwards, visible and audible to all, and the protagonists lose themselves in new dimensions.  [more]

TwinLab Performance (2018)

The TwinLab performance took place on 25 October 2018 as part of the Swiss Digital Day and was broadcast live in the hall of Zurich’s Central Station. (Photo by Regula Bearth ZHdK ©2018)

The Hidden Formula &The Heavenly Palace: Simultaneous performances in Zurich and Hong Kong

The pilot project of the Immersive Arts Space was based on an international cooperation. In a live-transmitted event, two performances in Zurich and Hong Kong were united and could be seen simultaneously in both cities. The movements of the dancers were tracked by motion capture technology and transformed into live visuals. At the same time, the recorded motion data was sent across the globe, where it was used to establish a dialogue of the performers, separated by 9’000 kilometers and 6 hours of time difference.

With reference to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, the performance of the Zurich University of the Arts explored mechanisms of restriction as well as the human willpower to break free. The performance of the theatre group Zuni Icosahedron in Hong Kong, referred to the 16th century Chinese novel A Journey to the West and embraced elements of imprisonment and liberation.

Zurich performers and their virtual avatars can be seen on the left screen, whereas the right screens displays the video live feed of the simultanenous performance in Hong Kong.  (Photo by Regula Bearth ZHdK ©2018)

TwinLab is a cooperation of the Immersive Arts Space of the Zurich University of the Arts with institutions in Hong Kong. Having the same infrastructure at both locations, the cooperation is primarily based on data exchange. It is used for simultaneous live productions and experiments.

For data transmission, the TwinLab project relies on the findings and on technological developments of the SNSF research project Telematic Performance of the Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology ICST.

Video recording
The video below is based on recordings made on 25 October 2018 in Concert Hall 1 of the Zurich University of the Arts and in the Cultural Centre in Hong Kong.
(© ZHdK/Zuni/Digitaltag 2018)

For more information about the performance, artists and crew, please refer to this page.