Immersive Experiences(IELab) MISSION STATEMENT

To grow a community at the University of Glasgow, made up of researchers, artists, professionals and students interested in work at the intersection of arts and humanities, virtual and augmented reality, and related technologies.

In pursuit of this mission we circulate a regular IELab newsletter containing details of funding opportunities, events and technological developments that are relevant to this community. We also host the IELab event series of lectures, workshops and demos.

Join IELab

If you'd like to become a member of the new Immersive Experiences Lab at Glasgow please send an email to Rachel Opitz stating, "I would like to join the Immersive Experiences ArtsLab at Glasgow. To receive regular, approximately monthly, email updates on news and events relevant to the community."

Associated Staff:

EVENTS 2019

Immersive Experiences ArtsLab Event

Virtual Reality Experiences as Intimate Performance

Speaker: Harry Wilson

When: 21 November 2019, 15:00-17:00

Where: Sir Charles Wilson Building, Room 101AB

Despite the hype surrounding immersive media as the ‘future of storytelling’, there is an increasing number of theatre and performance practitioners making, staging and exhibiting VR experiences that place much more focus on the experiential, intimate encounter over and above narrative storytelling. Some recent examples include Laurie Anderson's To the Moon 2019; Robert Lepage’s The Library at Night 2016; Marina Abramovic’s mixed reality performance projects Rising (2018) and The Life (2019); companies like Marshmallow Laser Feast and Kaleider who are creating experiential installations and performative public art incorporating VR. These examples invite further reflection on the expanded theatrical and performative practices that are being drawn on in VR experiences - specifically modes of interaction borrowed from live art, intimate or one-to-one performance. This has been the starting point for my recent practice-as-research project exploring the intersections between VR and intimate performance as part of my role as Digital Thinker in Residence with the National Theatre of Scotland.
 
In September 2019, working with computing scientist Julie Williamson from the University of Glasgow and visual artist and theatre designer Rachel O' Neill, we developed a VR performance response to John Berger's book and our faces, my heart, brief as photos (1984). In this talk I will reflect on this emerging field of VR performance as well as what we found out about VR and about performance by bringing these two forms together.
 
 
 
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Dr. Harry Robert Wilson is a researcher and performance maker based in Glasgow and until recently was Digital Thinker in Residence with the National Theatre of Scotland. Harry has a practice-as-research PhD in performance, photography and affect from the University of Glasgow. He has shared research at a range of conferences from Stockholm to Chicago and as a practitioner has shown work at venues and festivals across the UK including The Arches; the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow; Forest Fringe, Edinburgh; DCA, Dundee; BAC, London; and internationally at Defibrillator Gallery, Chicago and Kilowatt Festival, Sansepolcro. Harry is currently teaching in Theatre Studies at the University of Glasgow.
 
Twitter:@theharry_wilson
Academia.edu:glasgow.academia.edu/HarryWilson

Interdisciplinary PhD Research Showcase - Spring 2020

Rescheduled... Coming Spring 2020!

Speakers: Francis Butterworth-Parr, Dana Little, Monica Vazquez and more

Tuned to a Dead Channel: Critical Immersion in Contemporary Literary Culture - Francis Butterworth-Parr 

Criticality and immersion have often been figured as mutually exclusive modes of reading and playing. When figured as such, the act of critically playing video games (understanding the interconnectedness of the game and gameplay with its cultural, historical and aesthetics contexts) and the act of being immersed in a video game are forked. This opposition serves two extant arguments that are anathema to video game criticism: that video games are essentially apolitical despite being representational, and that the video game form is incapable of drawing sophisticated interpretations from players. The former argument served to validate the misogyny of Gamergate, the latter argument erroneously linked violence in games to real violence such and contributes to video game addiction’s controversial induction into the WHO’s list of mental disorders. To correct this, my presentation will experiment with dissolving the negative relationship between criticality and immersion in video games through their representation in contemporary literary culture, using examples where novelists have explored these concepts to question have we may reckon with the immersive video game playing experience through criticality.
 
 
Factions—hypertext fiction that builds worlds for story tourists - Dana Little
 

FACTIONS—WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

Factions is an experimental, speculative thesis website (senate regulations pending). As an example of design fiction (a practice that proposes speculative future scenarios via a diegetic prototype and often narrated by an imagined artifact), the website is a satirical look at the transformative tech and human-computer interactions that represent the double helix mashup of facts and fictions permeating the Internet.

My persona, an AI mystic called Wu, curates Factions and uses it to build a network of narratives through hypertext fiction—channeling various people, places, and things from literal to metaphorical ideas and ideals an advanced AI might come across while learning through social media.

 

What hypertext fiction means as used in Factions:

Factions works around the idea that hypertext fiction and specific forms of storytelling designed around digital modes of presentation, digital tools (tablets, laptops, mobile phones), call for different terminology and approaches. That is, when attending a play or watching a movie one is a viewer, when reading a book or a print news article one is a reader, when engaging with online content—hypertext loaded news features for instance—one is a user. I consider my use of hypertext fiction as a story and worldbuilding tool that transforms the ‘user’ into a tourist. Factions develops this theory.

 

What hypertext fiction does not mean as used in Factions:

Factions is not a game. By my definition of game, both play and competition are implicit or implied in the meaning. My usage of hypertext fiction in Factions is not to produce a particular outcome for the user—one is not a player or competitor. Just using the term user as opposed to player or gamer implies less competitive or even ‘fun’ play, more random interaction and personal escapade—further reasoning behind my redefining the user as a tourist while in Factions.

In this hypertext fiction, I do not intend to lead the tourist to a specific or particular end—their voyage is an end in and of itself as the objective of the website, of the research, as the social media experience being participatory acts of worldbuilding. The term ‘acts’ as I intend it is tantamount to a performance and collaboration with the author—a conceptual conversation, not necessarily a debate to be won.

 

FACTIONS CASE STUDY—BREXIT BINGO!

HOWEVER—I do have a GAN sampler to explore machine learning as gaming.

 

Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN) are two neural networks competing in a zero-sum game as a machine learning training method. One of my side projects that both compliments and contradicts my thesis involves a satirical exercise using GAN, where two machines attempt to teach each other the meaning (and predict the ultimate outcome) of Brexit. After a brief tour of my website to illustrate uses of hypertext fiction storytelling, I will share a sample game from the GAN project—Brexit Bingo!—then introduce a new GAN game—Deconstruction!—in which two machines use this abstract to deconstruct my stated theory

 

The Neverending Immersion: inhabiting the impossible in Fantasy Literature and VR. - Monica Vasquez

 Virtual Reality is the narrative architecture of the impossible. It stirs our imagination and challenges humanity to redefine the limits of immersion and our interactions with the spaces we inhabit. If, as Ortega y Gasset puts it, ‘I am me and my circumstances’, who am I when I am given the chance of facing the impossible? This research project will aim to answer this question, dwelling in the matters of how immersion inherently shapes identity and how the different degrees of interaction can affect our understanding of the concept of consequence, calling for a new definition for Fantasy, Reality and Immersion. In order to do so, it will analyze the inner workings of fantasy literature and its techniques on world-building and narrative immersion. For the most immersive thing one can do without VR goggles would be to read a book, isn’t that so, Don Quixote?

 


Using VR technology to understand inner world of autism

3rd October 2019, 15:00-17:00

253, Main Building, University of Glasgow

Speaker: Sarune Savickaite

data from Sarune's experimental work

Sarune's research addresses the intersection of VR and research on autism. 

Global and local processing is part of human perceptual organisation, where global processing enables us to extract the ‘gist’ of the visual information and local processing helps us to perceive the details. Individual differences in these two types of visual processing have been found in autism (ASD) and ADHD. Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure (ROCF) test was selected for this study. Virtual Reality (VR) has become a more available method of research in the last few decades. No previous research has investigated perceptual differences using this technology. In this study, we investigated individual differences in local and global processing as a function of autistic and ADHD traits. ROCF was presented in the virtual environment and a standard protocol for using the figure was followed. A novel method of quantitative data extraction was used. Differences have been found in the standard scores of ROCF, however, no differences were observed between the conditions and participants scoring higher on ASD and ADHD questionnaires. Limitations of the study and implications of the novel methodology are discussed. 

 

You can read more about Sarune's work on her website: https://www.sarune.info/

 

Let us know you're coming by reserving a spot at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/74320954977

 

Sarune's profile photo

Sarune Savickaite

 


Group VR and Immersive Theatre

Thursday 18 April, 2019, 15:00-17:00

Dr Julie Williamson

Wolfson Medical School - Gannochy Seminar Room 3

Co-Located VR Experiences

Current VR research often focuses on maximising immersion and personalising experiences, but an alternative approach could focus on social VR and co-located group experiences.  During this hands-on talk and workshop, we will explore the current capabilities of group VR experiences using mobile VR headsets and tracked objects to create a shared physical and virtual experience.  This has interesting application areas for entertainment, arts and theatre, education, and productivity.  The workshop will involve experiencing a prototype of such an application and developing design fictions that might use this configuration of hardware to create new kinds of immersive experiences.


Gesturing the landscape in VR

Thursday 14 February, 2019, 15:00-17:00pm

Dr Rachel Opitz

Wolfson Medical School - Gannochy Seminar Room 3


EVENTS 2018

Narratives in VR/AR

Thursday 6 December, 2018, 15:00-17:00

Dr Gareth Beale

 


The Value of Virtual Objects

Thursday 18 October, 2018, 15:00-17:00

Dr Neil McDonnell