Reality Remix

Lead Research Organisation: Coventry University
Department Name: Ctr for Dance Research

Abstract

The 'Reality Remix' project brings together an interdisciplinary team of experts - a fashion designer, artists, researchers, and a choreographer to address challenges and opportunities that emergent technologies bring to content creation and interaction methods in Mixed, Augmented and Virtual Reality. The participants will debate, create and share understandings to reveal insights into the new arena of immersion. The project will explore how these 'New Realities' (Huff Post, 2016) can enrich cultural and commercial space, shedding light on ideas of interface design, display methods, and understandings of how we may inhabit, move in and around these new spaces.

The team will host three Research Salons under the call themes of Memory, Place & Performance. The aim is to enhance user experience and produce new understandings and insights through the creation of proof-of-concept prototypes in the development of next generation immersive experiences. The project will test a variety of prototypes culminating in dissemination events at Ravensbourne University and Siobhan Davies Dance where the research findings will be shared with the public. The aim is to enhance the interaction experience for audiences to produce new experiences which are intellectually and socially engaging and can, through a re-engagement with the complexities of encountering 'new spaces' generate new understandings about our relationship with our perceptions within the world and how the physical body is reconceptualised and re-encountered in mixed reality environments. These interactions will be accessible, reaching parts of the world where VR and AR have not yet been experienced (through connections and international contacts and links of the collaborators).

The interdisciplinary project will be of benefit to researchers and practitioners in a wide range of academic disciplines from specialists in movement - both performance and media arts based to those working with digital technologies, simulation and games, to social scientists interesting in understanding modes of behaviour in virtual environments, serious gaming and to cultural theorists interested in the creation of new spaces.

The research questions are:

How do we guide audience expectations for interactions in (mixed reality, VR, AR) space?

How is the figure represented, what behaviours surface from modes of interaction?

Can we elicit visceral and physical responses from our players, visitors and performers?

How can physically present and offsite viewers and performers be represented and acknowledged in shared virtual space?

Is the presence of other viewers or users of benefit in a live event?

Can we affect preconceived notions from audiences used to scripted theatre, video games or escape rooms?

What information do performers need to guide the audience?

What are the politics and aesthetics of cultural expression in VR from a global point of view?

Can an auditory, locative project augment one's sense of time, place and memory?

Can abstract virtual environments give the user useful data through visualisation or sonification?

Planned Impact

The project will benefit a range of external users. It builds on longstanding relationships between the participants. The project's cultural, social and educational impact will be delivered through two dissemination events and the project website. The project beneficiaries for non-academics include:

Dance Community
- A dissemination event at Siobhan Davies Dance (SDD) exposes the project to the dance professional community, addressing themes of performance, memory and place in relation to immersion. An investigative arts organisation, Siobhan Davies Dance stimulates new thinking based on a contemporary definition of choreography this event will give an opportunity guests to try the prototypes and will nicely follow on from Gibson's Virtual Reality Workshop at SDD. Gibson is also regularly invited to speak to the dance/art community on the subject of performance and new media both in the UK and abroad, lectures which span academia, creative economies and industry.

Creative Economy in the UK and beyond
- Project Partners include Paul Callaghan, Programme Manager, Games & Interactive, at the British Council. He develops new collaborations, innovation and enterprise with rapidly-changing creative and cultural industries worldwide. The insights generated during the project could feed into new ways of collaborating, working and commissioning for the communities of future leaders that the British Council nurtures

- Project Partners include Lauren Wright at Siobhan Davies Dance -a forward looking dance and theatre companies may wish to expand their practice into these new performance 'spaces' opened up by the project.

Invited to the dissemination events are also curators and arts programmers at galleries and festivals who wish to gain further understanding of next generation immersive environments and how they can be used to create artistic experiences and engage a widening audience - for example invited will be both Gazelli Art House and Gossamer Fog galleries who have recently begun exhibiting virtual reality artworks.

Commercial
Project Partners include Ads Reality, who develop immersive and augmented reality experiences and are looking for fresh ideas and techniques that can be developed into future commercial projects.

Medical
- Invited guests to the dissemination events will be Caroline Moore and her Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) Arts Programme colleagues, who have been actively seeking interactive and immersive experiences to use with long term, or isolated, young patients in the Hospital. (Gibson/Martelli have recently been artist researchers-in-residence at GOSH developing an augmented reality project for the patients to examine the benefits of performance in a clinical settings: www.gosh.nhs.uk/parents-and-visitors/gosh-arts/news/gibsonmartelli-great-ormond-street-hospital)

General Public
- Members of the public who will be able to engage in new artistic immersive experiences, experience new forms of performance - it is clear from the media attention that there is widespread public interest in this field.

Academia and Creative Economy
A dissemination event at Ravensbourne contextualises the project in relation to new media, research and contributes to their overall research culture. Project Partner Nick Lambert is Head of Research at Ravensbourne in the VASARI Research Centre. Outside Ravensbourne, as chair of the Computer Arts Society (CAS), Nick is well placed to both foster new collaborations in the short and medium term whilst whilst developing opportunities to disseminate the project at future events, the Electronic Visualisation in the Arts conference to give one example.

- Gibson has presented at both of the VR UK conferences held at Ravensbourne, which are aimed at technologists, artists and content creators. She will introduce initial project at the 2018 VRUK conference and present the results in 2019.

Publications

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