Deep/Place: Site-Based Immersive History


Session Title:

  • Adopting Traditional Concepts of Beauty with the Digital

Presentation Title:

  • Deep/Place: Site-Based Immersive History




  • DEEP/PLACE is a site-based installation that features an expanded interactive audiovisual space consisting of diverse media elements. This multidisciplinary collaborative artwork merges materials from discrete domains—such as architecture, cultural geography and geology—in an immersive site-specific experience. Participants explore the multifaceted information by navigating a rich media landscape through intuitive gestures. The media landscape is represented by a system of interconnected nodes of site-based information that include spatial and geological information, archival blueprints and images, 3D models, and audio material. The system uses a gestural interface that allows a user to move between and within nodes, exploring the media landscape.

    The gestural interface connects the graph of nodes both chronologically and thematically. Color threads dynamically guide the user between nodes, creating adaptive and dynamic place-based narratives. Using a wireless glove that senses flexing and position tracking, a gestural vocabulary creates a kinetic interaction, encouraging discovery and re-contextualization. In addition to an exploration of the virtual environment, the system allows the user to connect expressive gestures to an artistically generative component of the system, helping form a bridge between the virtual and the physical, between perception and action.

    The specially designed technological infrastructure enables node interconnectivity to define possible narrative paths through the media landscape. These paths can be followed deep within the spatial context (including into geological foundations) and also the chronological one (through architecture and history). It is based on a 3D virtual environment into which the informational elements are interwoven. This collaborative project involves three core faculty (in Studio Art and Computer Science) as well as students within the Ammerman Center for Arts & Technology. Additional expertise in site-specific history, architecture, geology and geographical information systems was provided by affiliated faculty.

    Our first realization of DEEP/PLACE features a chapel that was designed as a reflective gathering place for community building, with a rich history of performances and recordings. This installation presents its past in an interactive and deep experience encompassing culture and architecture. DEEP/PLACE is a flexible site-based installation that can be re-purposed for other historically rich sites, using relevant media and research inputs to the system.

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