This paper was the result of a presentation delivered by Steve Anderson at the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE) conference in San Jose, California. Written with Scott Fisher, et al.
For most of the past century, cinema has been the premier medium for defining and expressing relations to the visible world. However, cinematic spectacles delivered in darkened theaters are predicated on a denial of both the body and the physical surroundings of spectators. To compensate, filmmakers have historically turned to narrative, seducing audiences with compelling stories and realistic characters. This paper describes a year-long investigation into the narrative potentials of interactive immersive cinema that sidestep the narrative preoccupations of conventional cinema, instead focusing on notions of space, movement and embodied spectatorship using an experimental, 8-camera panoramic cinema apparatus.
Published in SPIE Conference Proceedings Volume 5664, March 2005
IML Island is an experimental learning environment created in the multi-user virtual environment of Second Life. Development of the island was supported by the USC Provost’s Technology Enhanced Learning Seed Grant Initiative (2007-08) and developed in part by staff members of the Institute for Multimedia Literacy and students in CTIN 478: Designing Multi-User Online Game Environments (fall 2008). Documentation of the development of the island may be found here and here. This space represents a significant intervention in pedagogical uses of virtual environments, the vast majority of which are modeled after physical spaces and do not take advantage of the unique affordances of a virtual environment. IML island is deliberately non-representational, choosing instead to refer metaphorically to spaces such as the Panopticon, theorized by Michel Foucault as an exemplary structure for thinking about cultures of surveillance and our own position as subjects who are both viewer and viewed.
To visit IML island, it is necessary to create an account in Second Life (this is easy and free), after which you may follow this link to teleport directly to the island.
The Recalcitrant Panopticon is a live action 360 degree interactive cinema production created by students in CTCS 478: The Frenzy of Vision during the spring semester of 2003. This project emerged from work with the Interactive Media Division’s Immersive Lab, which conducted a range of experiments in interactive panoramic cinema using an eight-camera, 360 degree recording and editing system. The multi-camera system uses a game console and controller to deliver fully navigable, live action video. This work is specifically designed to explore the properties and limitations of immersive experiences in relation to the codes of cinematic narrative.
Recent research in immersive cinema at USC focused on two courses: CTIN 532: Interactive Experience Design, taught by Mark Bolas and Michael Naimark, and CTCS 478: The Frenzy of Vision, taught by Steve Anderson and Susana Ruiz. The two courses may be thought of as functioning in tandem on a conceptual level, providing divergent platforms and prototypes for exploring the possibilities of immersion as realized on a psychological level as well as in a volitional, interactive environment.
Ironically, immersive technology, which at first glance seems to represent another step on the path toward realism, also suggests ways of questioning our fundamental relations to space time, knowledge and visual perception. Interestingly, the majority of work in both classes yielded projects which departed from the representational conventions of realism, depicting fragmented, disjunctive, or deliberately distorted spaces. In gravitating toward conceptual investigations of space and perception, several of these projects resisted the presumptive ideals of immersive media. Work with the 8-camera 360 degree system, for example, resulted in two completed projects – The Zooetrope and The Recalcitrant Panopticon – both of which eschew the narrative preoccupations of conventional cinema in order to explore notions of space, movement and embodied spectatorship as an alternative to traditional storytelling.
RFIDs, emergent narrative, immersive installation, game theory — this piece has it all!
The art/design duo Knifeandfork (Sue Huang and Brian House) present “5 ’til 12″ at UCI’s Beall Center for Art+Technology Jan. 18-Mar. 15 with an opening reception on Tuesday Jan. 17, 6-9 pm
“5 ’til 12 is an immersive narrative installation that explores the fragile human ego using evolutionary algorithms and game-theory. Through user identification technology, interactive video-based characters with complex personalities develop in direct response to audience participation over the 2- month duration of the exhibition.”
AUTOMATA at the Velaslavasay Panorama presents:
Magical Projections (curated by Steve Anker)
Saturday, December 3 at 8 pm
A program of ‘trick’ films made at the turn of the last century, when cinema was new and everything about it was magical. Fantastical apparitions, impossible occurrences and startling transformations flitted across the screen in a new sleight of hand no one had ever seen before. Filmmakers will include Georges Meiles, Ferdinand Zecca, Louis Feuillade, Emil Cohl, Ladislas Starevitch, Edwin S. Porter, J. Stuart Blackton and D.W. Griffith. With live musical accompaniment by Severin Behnen!
From Chera…A rare screening of How the West Was Won in 3-Strip CINERAMA October 28 through November 3, 2005 at the Cinerama Dome.
How the West Was Won features a star-studded cast that includes Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, Debbie Reynolds, Robert Preston, James Stewart, and John Wayne. Directed by not one but three film directors, including the legendary John Ford, this epic broke box office records during its initial release in 1962.
The Cinerama Dome is one of a handful of theaters left in the world that has the capability to screen three-strip Cinerama. The technically and economically challenging Cinerama process, which used three simultaneous cameras to film and takes three separate projectors to exhibit, lasted only 12 years, and How the West Was Won is one of only two feature films to be produced, and the only one that has been restored.
From Ghia… “This is a link to the website for the London Eye, otherwise known as the giant ferris wheel that sits on the South Bank. The view that it affords is stunningly similar to the one in the panorama book. It is also similar to the ascent of a hot air balloon although not as high. Click on “Eye View” and you can take a virtual tour.”
The A short panoramic clip taken from the moving sidewalk at the 1900 World Exposition in Paris
The Santa Monica Camera Obscura is located at 1450 Ocean Avenue, just north of the SM pier. Open weekdays 9-4; weekends 11-4
Magnificent Desolation and Wild Safari 3D IMAX movies now playing at the California Science Center