Computationally Disintegrative Therapy

A mixed reality installation that heightened viewers’ sense of space and embodiment.

This project began in a disused room that was filled with dilapidated machines.

These machines were first arranged into specific locations in the room which was then 3D-scanned in its entirety. This 3D data was used to create a digital reconstruction of the room. Using Unreal Engine 4 in conjunction with the HTC Vive virtual reality system, this digital reconstruction was overlaid on top of the physical room itself.

The virtual environment was also populated with a particle system that was composed of glowing yellow spheres. These poured out of electrical sockets and bounced around at high speeds.

Viewers were invited to physically navigate the digital reconstruction of the room using a virtual reality headset. While immersed in this experience, viewers were simultaneously moving around in the real world in that very same room, surrounded by physical objects.

A viewer navigating around the room both physically and virtually.

These objects were also present in the virtual environment. However, these virtual objects were purposefully designed to only approximately match the real objects in location and size.

Thus, when viewers reached out to interact with the virtual objects they encountered the real ones. By doing so, viewers realized that some of the virtual objects were larger than life, while others were smaller and had spatially shifted.

A viewer simultaneously interacting with a virtual object and a real object.

Time and time again, viewers reported that this physical misperception gently confounded and heightened their sense of space and embodiment.