This lecture series investigates the concept of immersion in art and design from aesthetic, historical and political perspectives. Guest lecturers come from digital arts, curating, media studies, and the histories of science and technology from the ZHdK, Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (New York), Haus der Elektronischen Künste (HEK, Basel) and the Technical University in Dresden. Topics will include contemporary artistic practices in multi-sensory immersion, extended reality and history of VR and the arts, and art and artificial intelligence.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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)