Immersion in Mixed Reality Spaces
This thesis maps out the overlaps, synergies and forces at play when designing for optimal immersive experiences in responsive mixed reality spaces. The research is produced from the perspective of a practising interaction designer and media artist. It is performative, transdisciplinary and built on a methodology that combines and intertwines theories, practice and observation.
The idea of immersion is explored from a range of theoretical and disciplinary approaches, ranging from games theory, media and cinema theory to the various and varied understandings of presence, involvement and engagement. Various theoretical approaches are developed to further understand the notion of immersion in the context of mixed reality spaces.
In parallel, I build a theoretical framework for mixing realities within media arts, based on the relationships between physical space, image space and the space of interaction and building on the traditions of video art, installation art and Virtual Reality.
Several artworks and experiments that probe these themes were developed and publicly exhibited, with reflections on the practice and observations of audiences and works ‘in the wild’ then feeding back into the theoretical frameworks. The theories are enriched, probed and expanded as a result. Similarly, the practice is given greater rigour and direction through the theory, with the later works in particular benefiting from the practical insights that the theoretical explorations have given.
The thesis presents several strategies (theoretical and practical) that can be adopted when designing for immersive and responsive mixed reality experiences. These include various approaches to invisible interfaces through the use of physical and digital materiality within space; mapping/aligning the image space with physical space to create a spatially coherent experience; and using design to optimise affective engagement over more analytical forms of audience response.
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