Exhibition: Planet Digital

February 11th – June 6th | Museum für Gestaltung, Ausstellungstr. 60, 8005 Zürich

 Overview of a complete 3D model of an artisanal gold mine in Kamituga based on a 3D scan with a smartphone. 3D scan: Gabriel Kamundala, 3D model: Chris Elivis Leisi, ZHdK ©2022

The exhibition Planet Digital features a joint production of the Immersive Arts Space and the Department of Geography of the University of Zurich. The exhibition segment Kamituga | Digital Gold allows insights behind the shiny surface of the mobile tech industry and invites the visitors to engage with the concrete challenges and living conditions of artisanal gold miners in the region of Kamituga (Democratic Republic of Congo). About seven percent of global gold is used for technological purposes, as a chemically stable and exceptional conductor. It is found in all our smartphones, tablets and computers.

The starting point for all digitally-based experiences are the photographs, videos and 3D scans that PhD candidate Gabriel Kamundala recorded in Kamituga in the summer of 2021 using a latest-generation smartphone. In this way, a ubiquitous device, itself containing gold and rare minerals, provides insights into the living conditions of artisanal mine workers and, at the same time, draws attention to the many challenges of the mobile tech industry.

View into a 3D model of a Kamituga mine based on a 3D scan with a smartphone.
3D scan: Gabriel Kamundala, 3D model: Chris Elivis Leisi, ZHdK ©2022

Visitors also encounter texts that draw their attention to the global context of the experiences they have just had. With the help of QR codes, they can also view supplementary information on their smartphones. Thus, awareness of both how our digitalized lives are dependent on rare minerals and of the problematic interrelation of supply chains in the mobile tech industry is promoted.

[ Planet Digital website ]

REFRESH#4

The REFRESH#4 conference on Design, Arts and Technology took 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


Emerging Talents: Stella Speziali & Chris Elvis Leisi

ZHdK Talent Talk in the context of Swiss Digital Days

Stella Speziali is research associate in the Immersive Arts Space and will talk about her research project on the topic of digital humans.

Thanks to technological advancements the creation of virtual characters is more accessible than ever. New time-saving platforms have been created, thus democratising the access to high-fidelity, real-time, fully-rigged, diverse, portable, 3D human characters.
With My Digital Twin, I wish to understand better the creation and deployment of digital humans with different critical approaches. Furthermore, I am ethically questioning their applications in entertainment, marketing, art, and beyond.

Chris Elvis Leisi, research associate in the Immersive Arts Space and a graduate of the ZHdK Game Design program, talks about his graduation project Virtual Real World.

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 Virtual Reality and reveals the potentials that arise when one’s own home can be integrated into the virtual world as a play area.

The ZHdK talent talk took place on November 4th at the Kino Toni.
Speaker: Stella Speziali (en), Chris Elvis Leisi (de)
Host: Christian Iseli


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.


Dreaming of Time and Space

Photo by Regula Bearth © ZHdK 2020

The installation and immersive performance took place between October 6th and 9th 2021

See trailer of the performance here

In the ongoing research project “The Umbrella Project” the use of 3D audio and projection mapping are explored in order to achieve a sense of immersion without isolating participants from the real world, essentially, enabling an imaginary fantasy world to come to life in our own. We employ multiple levels of 3D audio and projection mapping (both directly within and on the umbrella, as well as throughout the room itself) in order to transport the participant into this virtual world. 

As such, we can consider the umbrellas, and the overall system of which they are a part, to be an instrument of sorts, in that they literally allow us to compose and explore reactive sonic environments in 6 degrees of freedom (6 DoF). Additionally, the umbrellas can also function as a measurement instrument, much as a stethoscope does as a sonic instrument for medical examination; however, in this case, through the immersive experiences they purvey, the umbrellas enable us to examine the nature of our own perception of reality. 

The end goal of the project is to create a series of navigable compositions in the form of exploratory sonic worlds, as well as interactive experiences where the participants’ behaviors (relative to each other and the world) shape the sonic and visual environment. Furthermore, we are investigating sonic and visual paradigms where the umbrellas can function both as objects existing in and can interact with the virtual world, as well as being windows onto these other worlds.

Team:
Eric Larrieux
Stella Speziali
Mariana Vieira Grünig


ZFICTION.21 – Virtual Production

The first edition of the feature film conference ZFICTION took place in June 2021 and focused the versatile promises of the new tools for film production. Filmmakers and researchers explored the question of how virtual production will change the near future of fictional storytelling in film and what new challenges this will bring.

In the conference exhibition Immersive Arts Space hosted a virtual production shooting situation, offered hands-on experiences with the cineDesk and showcased the virtual production method that filmmaker in residence Andreas Dahn had applied for his animation film and VR experience Home in the Distance.

On the conference website www.zfiction.ch the talks, discussions and elements of the exhibtion can be revisited


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.