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Interactive aesthetics: iCinema, interactive narratives and immersive environments

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  • N Visual Arts (General) For Photography
  • See Tr
  • Tk Electrical Engineering. Electronics Nuclear Engineering
  • Design
  • Philosophy


This paper explores the interactive cinema projects T_Visionarium and Scenario, undertaken at the iCinema Research Centre, University of New South Wales. In T_Visionarium users are able to re-assemble multiple streams of television clips presented in cascading windows across a 360-degree cinema screen. In Scenario, a work that involves research into Artificial Intelligence (AI), users become both beholders and protagonists as they physically assist digital characters in unfolding a narrative. I investigate these works in the context of the interactive narrative concepts that structures their design and the way that interactive technologies, when utilised in a cinematic sense, are able to reformulate conventional aesthetic concepts. Firstly, in terms of T_Visionarium, I use Michel Serres' theory of multi-temporality to understand the meaningful qualities of interaction with vast banks of aesthetic data. Secondly, in terms of Scenario, I explore the history of the use of AI in artistic contexts, attempting to understand this usually technical concept aesthetically. Throughout this discussion my position on aesthetics and interactive narrative is founded upon the notion that digital aesthetics are not confined to judgements passed at what is passively experienced at the visible level of the screen. Instead digital aesthetics should focus on the interactive processes and shared narrative agency that perform the interactive cinematic installations, as technology intervenes in our aesthetic experiences.

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