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Bauhaus scenography for virtual reality

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To achieve sense of presence (SOP), 1920s Bauhaus scenography is presented as a design inspiration for the development of expansive virtual environments (VE) in virtual reality (VR). The discipline’s dramaturgs and scenographers conceived and constructed a series of stages and theatres to facilitate a more present and immersed experience for their audience. This aligns with the current efforts of VR designers and developers to create immersive VE’s that contribute towards a deeper SOP. For the Bauhaus this was the notion of Raumempfindung, space that could be felt by both the audience and the performer. This was achieved by creating mechanical, geometric stages with optical scenery. These were part of the Bauhaus belief in a theatre of totality: instead of dialogue, a combination of stage elements could give rise to dramatic action. In VR, this composition of elements can facilitate a sense of embodied presence for the user. Summarily, these elements were space, form, colour, sound, motion and the human actors. These were mapped to four supra-categories for VR: topology, tone, external scenography and movement. This language informed the design of ARES, a room-scale VR experience. A user study assessed the humanistic approach. Results indicated that the Bauhaus-inspired approach benefited VE design deliberations and resulted in an experience with a high SOP.
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Keywords: Bauhaus scenography; design; performance studies; presence; virtual environment; virtual reality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Georgia Institute of Technology

Publication date: June 1, 2018

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  • Virtual Creativity (VCR) is an academic peer-reviewed journal focusing on creativity in online virtual worlds and other related platforms where the virtual is examined as a central theme in contemporary media art practices and applied contexts. Pieces exploring the subject of digital creativity are sought from the broad perspective of Art, Science and Technology, in what is a widespread field of discourse. One focus of the journal is an examination of creative activity in the metaverse - from art, design and architecture, to research and education, to play and entertainment. Additionally, Virtual Creativity seeks to engage with ways in which the virtual reflects upon the implications of the physical.
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