Jinsil Hwaryoung Seo, Michael Bruner: Upwell: Performative Immersion

  • ©, Jinsil Hwaryoung Seo and Michael Bruner, Upwell: Performative Immersion


    Upwell: Performative Immersion

Artist(s) and People Involved:




    Virtual Reality


    dimensions variable

Artist Statement:

    People unconsciously long to be immersed in nature that provides shelter and comfort. Through activities like camping, hiking, and swimming, people can relax and be immersed in nature. However, nature has two sides: virtue and vice, life and death. While seeking comfort in the forest or beach, a person may feel fearful about the possibility that a wild animal may appear and attack. Even though the ocean is very pretty but a person may have fears of drowning in the ocean. All of these fears may prevent people from fully enjoying and experiencing the beauty of the natural world.
    Upwell is an immersive virtual reality environment that provokes the feeling of being underwater but allows embodied interaction within the environment. Undulating characteristics, including tenderness, flux, softness, and buoyancy, all add to the feeling of being underwater. Upwell is a refuge from nature that provides playful immersion without vulnerability. A participant with a conventional VR head-mounted display and custom-designed wearable controllers can navigate around a room scale setup and interacts with dynamic visual and sound elements. Upwell was originally designed as a dance performance with two dancers. The exhibited version of Upwell at ISEA invites a participant to a performance and evokes performative gestures in the virtual reality space. Upwell becomes a dance theatre for a single person performance.