The Pervasive and the Digital: Immersive Worlds in Blast Theory's ‘A Machine to See With' and Dennis Del Favero's ‘Scenario'

The Pervasive and the Digital: Immersive Worlds in Blast Theory's ‘A Machine to See With' and Dennis Del Favero's ‘Scenario'

Daniel Paul O'Brien (University of Glasgow, United Kingdom)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/IJEP.2017070103
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This paper discusses two immersive story worlds between two distinct interactive artworks. Blast Theory's A Machine to See With (2010) is a pervasive fictional experience that enables users, through the technology of their mobile phone, to become immersed within a fictional crime scenario across a real geographical setting. Dennis Del Favero's art project, Scenario (2011), by contrast, is an interactive and immersive story that takes place in a 360-degree digital cinematic space called an AVIE (Advanced Visualization and Interaction Environment). This immersive world is a mixed reality environment, a meeting place where five real users and ten digital screen characters converge and interact through the technology of motion sensing. Participants are virtually wired into the immersive world through the performance of their movement. This paper will explore both of these artworks through original interviews the author has conducted with each of the artists.
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A Machine To See With

Just listen to the voice on the phone. The voice tells you what to do. The voice says you're playing the lead in a movie. Hide in the toilets, find the getaway car, stake out the bank and take a deep breath. You're going in.

The description above is taken from Blast Theory’s website (Blast Theory, 2017), which describes their artwork, A Machine to See With. This is a pervasive game that involves a group of users following instructions on their mobile phones. As these instructions are spoken each user must carry them out, mobilising each individual participant across a real urban environment. Within a specific starting point in a city setting and at an arranged time, a participant’s phone will ring. The voice on the phone will then proceed to instruct a user about the fictitious bank robbery they are going on, leading them to real checkpoints and other participants before eventually reaching the doors of a public bank. The immersive fictionality of this experience relies upon the user obeying instructions through the technology of their mobile phone.

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