Aesthetics of Immersive Experience

As an interactive artist and researcher, I am interested in the phenomenon of immersion created from physical interactions within interactive environments. I acknowledge immersion as a primary aesthetic phenomenon not just because it is created within artistic environments, but because the experience of attending is fundamental to our senses, realized through bodily interaction in its wholeness, and actualized in collaboration with artists. Immersion in digital/interactive art contexts means that mind, body and environment interweave and communicate with each other inside of technically mediated, spatially enclosed, and sensuously interactive computational environments.

In my notion of immersion, the existence of immersive space is one of the fundamental requirements. However, space can be loosely interpreted at any level of scale (culture, architecture, clothing, light) because space can be understood in a broader, more inclusive sense as internal space. Space can even be conceived topologically as an envelope or membrane between (bodily) spaces. Experience travels between these spaces; immersion is the experience of spaces fused or absorbed by identity, or (the inverse) of identity absorbed into a space beyond itself. From my early artistic practice, I found that many participants’ subjective experience of my projects were expressed in terms of meditative, playful, natural, therapeutic, and poetic qualities.

I investigated these experiential properties of the immersive phenomenon, by creating two immersive environments, entitled nite_aura and Light Strings. These art-works integrate physical materials (such as textural fabrics and illuminated fiber optics) with computational/electronic components (such as soft-circuits, sensors, cameras and computers).  In the research through art methodology, the audience’s aesthetic experience was collected using phenomenological research methods. As a result of this experiential inquiry, I developed a conceptual/experiential framework of immersion that can provide insights to designers and scientists with the goal of identifying design properties that support immersive experience. This research has implications for related areas such as education, entertainment, and therapy.

Here is my Dissertation_Proposal.

Title: Aesthetics of Immersion in Interactive Immersive Environments: Towards Phenomenological Research

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