#experience #interaction #VR #body_movement #motion_design
(Un)Balance is an experience in XR (extended reality) which rethinks human-spaces interactions by foregrounding the notion of embodiment. It provokes body awareness, movement and exploration.
Context _ Master project developped at the Interactive Architecture Lab (Bartlett, UCL). Completion: 2019.
Awards _ 2020 Lumen XR Award, Nominated for Best of Animation 2019 by Ars Electronica.
Exhibitions _ Ars Electronica Festival (2018, Linz, AU), Interactive Architecture Lab catapult (2019, London, UK), Best of animation @ Ars Electronica Festival (2019, Linz, AU), Gazelli Art House (2020, London, UK).
Role _ Researcher, creative director, experience, interaction, product & Unity3D designer, maker, video director and editor, project manager.
Tools _ Pen & paper, interviews, physical and digital prototyping, Unity 3D, Rhinoceros, Cinema 4D, Adobe After Effects, Premiere and Photoshop.
Why? Today, our western world is slowly welcoming the idea that body awareness and body movement play key roles in our physical and emotional healths. However, we increasingly evolve towards spatial contexts and interactions which tend to limit and control our moving bodies while dispersing our daily attention through constant visual stimuli. Most interactive experiences in VR are no exceptions, as they primarily play of the visual sensory system, de-engaging participants from their own bodies.
What? (Un)Balance is an interactive experience in XR (extended reality) inviting participants to play on the edge of stability. It rethinks immersive interactions by foregrounding the notion of embodiment. Here I imagine a world where human-space interactions aim at training curiosity, exploration and awareness. Its design is inspired by Somaesthetics theory which highlights links between body awareness, unusual movements and perception of the world. Designed at the Interactive Architecture Lab, the experience is the result of various prototypes and participatory exhibitions, namely at Ars Electronica Festival.
How? In a 10 minutes solo experience, participants are invited to play on the edge of stability. VR technology is combined to two analog tools, a wearable and a tilting platform. They merge into visual, touch and sound stimuli, augmenting and shifting the participant’s perception of her body and environment. She moves on a tilting platform pushing her sense of balance to its limits. Lead beads embedded in the platform are displaced as it tilts, allowing auditory stimulation in response to her movements. She also wears an apparel on the torso which augments sensations of shifting weight and contributes haptic and auditory stimulation. It does so by displacing lead beads within thin silicon tubes. Made of thin neoprene, the apparel has structure to hold the weight while allowing haptic sensations through it. Finally, a VR headset and six motion trackers placed on her body and on the platform enable a virtual avatar and virtual world to change in substance and gravity in response to her movements. The interplay of multi-sensory stimuli, enhanced by non-linear responses, awakens the player’s curiosity. Made unusually aware of her moving body and environment, she is provoked to engage in an exploratory process through movement.
Further. (un)Balance questions the possibilities offered by XR experiences in contexts such as emotional health therapy and moving meditation, namely through visualisation training.