Objects of Immersion

Lead Research Organisation: Lancaster University
Department Name: Lancaster Inst for the Contemporary Arts


Traditionally, researchers and developers have approached immersion as an activity in which they are moving the audience between experiential states i.e. from reality to virtual reality. However, this consideration can work against immersion as it can induce cognitive dissonance if the audience experiences significant differences between the states. For example, this is particularly noticeable in Virtual Reality whereby the audience's visual perception of the displayed world is not matched across their other senses, often leading to adverse physical reactions, such as, nausea. This is arguably because immersion in Virtual Reality is often approached with a desire to recreate the physical experience portrayed within the content. In this research we propose considering immersion from a perspective through which we create an alternate hybrid reality that dynamically adapts fictional components of a story narrative dependent upon the particular context of the audience, thus approaching immersion through a lens of emotional engagement. In particular, this project will investigate whether media can be dynamically contextualised for a particular audience using objects in three distinct forms: media, data, and physical to produce more immersive experiences.

Planned Impact

The impact of this research is aimed at addressing three highlighted areas of the call:

1) to provide tools that allow content producers to experiment with the possibilities the technology can provide
2); to provide a new consideration of immersion that seeks to enhance rather than radically shift UK expertise in creating high quality broadcast content, and
3) leveraging the increasing amounts of contextually sensitive data emerging within the Internet of Things to create more immersive and emotionally engaging experiences.

The project partners will use bespoke, and existing web, and social media to provide the initial publicity of the aims for the project. The project will produce a demonstrator system which will allow the concept to be experienced by the public relation to BBC at an event at FACT. The tools and concepts behind Objects of Immersion will also be demonstrated to potential producers of content at an event such as MOZFEST. A further demonstration will be provided through the BBC TASTER evaluation site. Note that all the software outputs will be provided as open source to allow future research and content production to build upon this initial research. As a final output we will produce a Design Fiction to represent the potential of this project for creating future immersive experiences.


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