Explore Immersion – Afternoon Immersion Showcase Programme 12th July 2019

Between Us Photo: Skye Liu Tianzi (2018)

Explore Immersion

Afternoon Immersion Showcase Programme 3pm – 6pm
Watershed, Arnolfini & Bristol VR Lab

The SWCTN Immersion full Showcase is now SOLD OUT and for those of you who still want to be part of the day we have opened up the programme from
3pm – 6pm

Just head to the SWCTN reception desk at Watershed, pick up a programme and join the public showcase for an afternoon of works, talks, podcasts and publications that respond to the theme of immersion.

Below is an overview of the programme for the afternoon.

Immersion Prototypes

AudioWAVE – Squid Soup Arnolfini The Dark Room
AudioWAVE is a flexible, volumetric, immersive audio system. It is a scalable network of connected, interacting and autonomous light emitting speakers dispersed throughout physical space, allowing the audience to move freely within aresponsive sonic ecosystem.

There is no singular optimal listening position but rather a dynamic, evolving and social sonic immersive environment, where each experience is shared but unique.

In addition to forming the basis of an immersive audiovisual experience, we see uses in theatres, galleries, churches, shopping centres and other social spaces, as well as being used as a spatialised DJ tool for live performance.

Baby BSL – VIKA Books Watershed
Baby BSL’s MVP ‘Where is the Bird?’ is the first Augmented Reality storybook to introduce British Sign Language (BSL) to deaf and hearing families alike. It is a smartphone app + buggy book that is designed to go wherever you go. Turn the pages and ‘wake up’ magical illustrations that first turn into colourful 3D animations, before being paired with video demonstrations of the BSL sign.

We are offering a wealth of opportunities for families to experience sign language from playing with the book, children’s activity packs, and BSL demonstrations. You can even get a 10% discount at the Watershed Café if you order your drinks in BSL!

EarthSongs – Mitch Turnbull Studio 5 Workshop Space
EarthSongs is a playful and creative mixed reality experience designed for the Magic Leap One headset. Using spatial computing technology, players explore wild soundscapes from around the world in a way never imagined and discover the beauty and importance of wild sounds to our cultural heritage and wellbeing. 

Individual sounds are represented by interactive abstract 3D visual motifs with associated spatialised audio creating a deeply immersive and beguiling experience. Players discover different soundscapes and sounds from a variety of diverse habitats through multiple layers within the app. EarthSongs enthrals, enlightens and inspires us to connect with the natural world in a new and intuitive way.

Realtime Stagemaker Toolkit – Anagram Studio 5 Workshop Space
Realtime Stagemaker is a toolkit which enables multi-disciplinary creative teams to work together in the creation of early-stage3D VR experiences.

One of the barriers to making creative VR content is how difficult it is for multiple practitioners to collaborate in a fluid and agile way in games engine software. Realtime Stagemaker allows collaborators to be inside a 3D virtual mock up, discussing ideas in-situ in a fluid way, saving time and creating a productive working environment at a level that is not currently possible. It enables diverse creative teams to quickly and efficiently sketch out a 3D prototype of an experience.

Renaissance – Ben Dunks Arnolfini Auditorium
Renaissance is a movement and strength based Falls Prevention programme aimed at vulnerable people who are living in sheltered accommodation and is designed to be led by staff from Housing Associations.

We are working with immersive technologies in a range of ways in order to validate the effectiveness of the programme. We have partnered with motion capture lab Camera at Bath University to capture the evolution of participant movement, stability and mobility over a 6 week programme of work and have worked with accelerometry, measuring movement in 3 groups in Plymouth to then correlate that data with fitbit data from participants.

Technie Acceleration Tools – Triangular Pixels Studio 5 Workshop Space
Technie Acceleration Tools is a collection of developer tools prototyped by Triangular Pixels. The tools allow for both content to be made faster and more efficiently through the use of automation, and also for players to adapt immersive VR content to their preferences, needs and where it’s being played.

At the showcase the audience will be able to play through some demo content created by the tools to see how it adapts to the space it’s played, and some of the first accessibility features to be implemented.

Shared Pasts: Decoding Complexity – Coral Manton
Arnolfini The Light Room
Using augmented reality technology, the project aims to give a 360 degree view of the past revealing the complexity surrounding cultural collections and landmarks.

We are showcasing the beginnings of this application. You will experience narratives around key cultural artefacts, and places around the harbourside. The narratives are voiced by Bristol born actor Adjoa Andoh. This project aims to challenge people’s potential bias in their approach to history, by enabling people to orientate themselves to see diverse outlooks via an intuitive interface and machine learning system of ‘recommendations’ based on seeing/experiencing alternative narratives.

TacTiles – Rowan James Watershed
TacTiles will create an experience unlike any other. Allowing for bass-rich music to be felt by diverse audiences, creating collective experiences. TacTiles will be part of an exhilarating, accessible, performance space that will captivate people’s sense of touch, and enable an entirely new form of artistic expression: the haptic DJ.

Our prototype for a modular, tessellating, tactile-bass, platform will not only provide a scalable solution that shares the energy of bass with the widest range of people, but delivered in a meaningful, exciting and inclusive way.

Waterside 1

Between Us 2019
Jane Grant, Coral Manton, Jay Auborn, Phillip Liford and Georgio Cortiana

Between Us is an Augmented Reality audio/visual artwork about desire, solar physics and the impossibility of touch. Between Us is made for Magic Leap.

Drawing on quantum physicist Karen Barad’s work on touch, the narrative inBetween Us is at once seductive and unsettling.

Participants inhabit an audio/visual world where they are addressed directly through the narrative. Immersed in the 3D soundscape and visuals, the participant is both audience and artwork, guided by a disembodied voice that speaks of solar physics and the haunting nature of desire, the anticipative action of touch.

Between Us allows us to sonically and visually inhabit the temporary intimate fusing of the outer edge of our atmosphere as it meets the sun’s radiative action – the ionosphere where the sun and the earth first touch. Our skin is constantly filtering air, reacting to temperature changes, signaling hormonal drives, fears and desires. In likening the ionosphere to the skin of our bodies we may by able to imagine the invisible interactions taking place between things and selves, things and things, and selves and selves. In sonifying this interaction we inhabit where the sun and the earth meet, where the ionosphere draws towards the sun like the pilomotor reflexes of the tiny hairs on our skin. The desirous nature of Between Us evokes the dynamic interplay between two bodies or systems, where we inhabit the in-between, the invisible interactions that take place where attraction and repulsion reside.

Between us is funded by SWCTN and University of Plymouth.

Between Us Photo: Skye Liu Tianzi (2018)
Between Us Photo: Skye Liu Tianzi (2018)

Waterside 2 Talks

3:15pm – 3:45pm
Distorted Constellations: Ritualising Augmented Reality: Accessibility as Innovative Creativity and the Use of the Sensory Space
Speaker: Nwando Ebizie

Inspired by the artist’s mythic interpretation of the rare neurological disorder Visual Snow, which causes the person to see an augmented reality of Seurat-like pointillist dots, auras and glowing lines.

This Afrofuturist research project is a Neurophenomenological approach to the creation of accessible immersive tech art spaces. A landscape for transformative encounters, it calls into question how much we can trust our senses through an exploration of atypical perception and immersive technologies and poses provocations in the areas of neurodivergent led design.

Distorted Constellations at Lighthouse/Brighton Festival An immersive installation that externalises my internal reality, demonstrating and normalising the subjectivity of perception. Image by Stewart Alex Gardiner

4pm – 5pm
Other matters of Immersion: place, mess and entanglement
Speakers: Julia Scott-Stevenson, Duncan Speakman and David Paton – and screening of film 

In this session, David Paton, Julia Scott-Stevenson and Duncan Speakman will explore what’s missing from discussions of immersion and immersive media. Digging into narratives that support, exist outside of and reveal immersion, they will make a series of provocations around labour and place, mess and bodies, and the illumination of existing entanglements.

The session will immediately follow a screening of David’s 15-minute film, Breath of the Geologic.


The LINK Watershed
Demos, Podcasts, conversations and publications

The Wow! Museum VR demo
Anthony Head

What happens when we can make miniature figures life size, how does our perception of them change? This Demo is an interactive virtual reality museum experience.

Designing an immersive music-making experience in VR
Dom Brown

I have been researching how immersive technology can be used in music interaction, through creating my own music-making experience in Virtual Reality. In the experience, users build and play their own musical instrument by drawing and manipulating virtual objects that become musically interactive, with musical properties drawn from metaphors of existing instrumental interactions as well as “magical” metaphors afforded by VR environments. The experience provides a tool to explore immersive musical interactions, and aims to allow for musical creativity and immersive flow states through exploration and musical play.

Music & the Mind: A psychological exploration of immersive musical experiences Trailer
Ellie Ripley

Screening of the the trailer documentary, plus excerpts from the Ellies new book.

We ARe better together- Exploring meaningful AR interventions for isolated patients
Fiona Rourke

Can AR be used to create meaningful experiences for young people and carers who are isolated in hospital for long periods of time? Can use of this technology provide complimentary and holistic interventions that reinforce relationships between family members and stimulate play?

I am looking to connect with individuals, organisations and businesses that have an interest in using creative technology as a complimentary therapy for patient wellbeing.

Glass Ceiling Games
Hannah Wood

Glass Ceiling Games is a NSFW and cathartic feminist AR/MR game about women being punk that Story Juice is developing for mobile, Magic Leap and HoloLens. It tackles everyday sexism in a comedic, subversive and empowering way and is based on Hannah’s own experiences and her SWCTN research into using poetic mechanics for narrative affect in immersive experiences. Story Juice has just won a UK Games Fund grant to develop the prototype and is set to launch a Kickstarter this September.

Chat to Hannah and visit glassceilinggames.com to follow the game’s development.

Glass Ceiling Games - Story Juice
Glass Ceiling Games – Story Juice

Launch of the South West Creative Technology Podcast series
Produced and hosted by Harry Willmott
You can find further detail on the episodes here

‘Where are you really from?’
Podcast series by Louise Adjoa ParkerThe Where Are You Really From? Podcast explores the experience of people of African, Asian, mixed or other ‘non-white’ heritage in the rural UK. It asks, how does it feel to be one of the few brown faces in a white rural landscape? And how does this impact on a person’s sense of self and well-being?

‘No Vantage Point’
Reflections, experiments and provocations for designing immersion
Publication by Duncan Speakman

This short publication combines reflective observations and provocations with experiments that could be used when designing immersive experiences. Designed for practitioners, the experiments are grouped into the overlapping categories edges, ecologies, networks and senses. From simple sensory deprivation methods to journeys that invert the concept of immersion, each one also contains pointers to other practitioners and critical research that might lead in new directions.

‘No Vantage Point’ will be available as an digital resource and a limited edition print copy.

Framing Immersion
Publication by Mark Leaver

Framing Immersion is a collection of personal testimonies on the evolution of an emerging market – an exploration of the challenges and opportunities in creating immersive experiences in a landscape where all parts of the value chain are still evolving at speed, whether production, distribution, audience engagement, business models or even the fundamental grammar of the form.Commissioned by the South West Creative Technology Network (SWCTN), the report is derived from a series of conversations with content producers, including SWCTN fellows, across multiple disciplines, exploring their journeys towards experimentation with immersive technologies, and the value that these new platforms and possibilities deliver.

Arnolfini The Dark Room

Aurora Imaginaris (2019)
Anthony Rowe Squidsoup

An imaginary material of precarious existence
Aerogel, wood, Perspex, electronics, digital media.

Aurora Imaginaris is, or represents, a fictional material emergent from digital media and nanotech physical processes. It is fake, imagined, not what it seems, yet beguiling and beautiful. It embodies both media and physical material, but as a hybrid substance does it even exist at all?

The piece is the second of Squidsoup’s Liminal Materials, a series of experiments into the nature of the digital and its relationship to the ‘real’ world we inhabit (1); how it can cross into the physical in novel and unexpected ways.

For more detail click here

Bristol VR Lab

MA Virtual Reality student prototypes 

Experience some of the prototypes that UWE Bristol’s pioneering VR masters students have been developing with industry partners including BBC R&D and Royal Opera House.