Role of Emotions in Interactive Museums: How Art and Virtual Reality Affect Emotions

Role of Emotions in Interactive Museums: How Art and Virtual Reality Affect Emotions

Giuliana Guazzaroni (Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1796-3.ch010


Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and artificial intelligence (AI) are increasingly being used by educational institutions and museums worldwide. Visitors of museums and art galleries may live different layers of reality while enjoying works of art augmented with immersive VR. Research points out that this possibility may strongly affect human emotions. Digital technologies may allow forms of hybridization between flesh and technological objects within virtual or real spaces. They are interactive processes that may contribute to the redefinition of the relationship between identity and technology, between technology and body (Mainardi, 2013). Interactive museums and art galleries are real environments amplified, through information systems, which allow a shift between reality, and electronically manipulated immersive experiences. VR is emotionally engaging and a VR scenario may enhance emotional experience (Diemer et al., 2015) or induce an emotional change (Wu et al., 2016). The main purpose of this chapter is to verify how art and VR affect emotions.
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A new generation of mobile devices flanks the traditional media and the generation of desktop computers. The technologies, connected and wearable, submit humans to a multisensory perception where the real special dimension and the virtual one are mixed together extending and amplifying emotional stimuli (Griziotti, 2012). The bio-hypermedia is a neologism to highlight the fact that using these sophisticated devices there is a qualitative jump in the interaction. They are characterized by miniaturization and portability, and they can be worn. Nowadays, emotions are dominant and the interaction of five senses with the network is central. Handheld tools can augment reality by overlaying information, or they may become the hub of vital biological functions. In addition, anthropomorphic devices, like Google Cardboard (i.e. the VR platform developed by Google. Named for its fold-out cardboard viewer, a low-cost system to encourage interest in VR applications), increasingly flank screens. All these smart interfaces can augment human senses and impose extra attention or cognitive overload. The skilled user, after having overcome technological barriers, introduces settings, multimedia and applications in relation to the dynamics of his/her own life and aspirations. When mobile devices are constantly reshaped, their usage, content and performance evolve and transform themselves (Griziotti, 2012). Smart and wearable interfaces require the use of new habits, practices, rituals and gestures. The actions people enact using handheld devices or wearable technologies are repeated every day, each time a multisensory experience is required. Some people are dependent and need to perform these new gestures from when they wake up in the morning. All the actions people enact, each time they walk in a path superimposed with AR and VR, are repeated. The reiteration of new habits may represent a daily ritual. In a VR performance, the concept of ritual behavior of participants may become a contemporary social procedural. The ritual is the connection between the trials using AR and performance. The experience of ‘Walking Eight’ rebuilds the empathy of visitors with usual and homologated places, to protect those places, their uniqueness and complexity. Mobile device and VR facilities 'may represent access points to navigate the city, to observe different layers of reality, to redraw the urban geography and to explore the real environment. It is an emotional journey to observe also familiar places from different perspectives and angles: a continuous sliding between two worlds (real and virtual), an invitation to participation, reflection and rediscovery of public spaces' (Guazzaroni, 2013). In this context, ‘Walking Eight’ is an invite to dynamic reflection, an offer to walk usual places, of every city. An invite to re-collocate semantic fields relating to a city in unusual semantic fields, open to creative reflection and self-empowerment. It is a sort of performative city, a micro universe, characterized by the symbol of infinity (‘eight’). It is also a stage; the stage of Leonardo Da Vinci renewed in a post-contemporary way to offer the vision of virtual tours and add information in museums and art galleries. The objective of this chapter is to explore how the combination of art and VR may affect human emotions. For this purpose, a real experience, regarding an art exhibit is described.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Augmented Reality: Augmented reality provides an overview of sensory integration with the perception that the user has of the environment in which he/she is located (in a real environment where the user interacts with objects). It is a superimposition of different levels of information integrated with real objects.

Smart City: The concept of a smart city or intelligent city describes a developed urban area that creates sustainable economic development and high-quality life by excelling in multiple key areas: economy, mobility, environment, people, living, education and government. Excelling in these key areas may be achieved through human capital, social capital, relational capital, education and ICT infrastructure as important drivers of urban growth.

Virtual and Augmented Reality Performance: An experience of mixed reality through the layering of real and virtual elements. Virtual objects are synthetic artworks created by artists, which can be detected using mobile devices and augmented reality facilities or immersive 360° experiences.

Mobile and Ubiquitous Learning: Learning is not the transmission of abstract and decontextualized knowledge, but a complex social process where knowledge is co-constructed by a community of learners. Such learning is situated in a real context and embedded within a social and physical environment. During Mobile and Ubiquitous Learning experiences participants are immersed in a place of interest and they learn through the interaction with real objects. Learning is a process of continuous interaction with the real-world where students continually reanalyse and reinterpret new information and its relations to reality ( Lave & Wenger, 1991 ).

Immersive Learning Environment: A virtual environment where students can connect, interact, find 360-degree learning objects and complete educational tasks wearing a special head-mounted display. Informal learning : Informal learning allows people to learn from daily experience, within the individual’s environment (e.g. family, friends, other students etc.) and outside the formal established organization. Consequently, learning does not happen in traditional spaces and it is not centred on the teacher. Today's learners can create and share content and aggregate themselves in informal social networks ( Leone, Guazzaroni, Carletti & Leo, 2010 ). Here the boundaries between learning, gaming, being a citizen, being a tourist are not well-defined.

Emotional Mapping (or Bio Mapping): It is a methodology for visualizing people’s reaction to the external world ( Nold, 2009 ). It is a methodology and tool to get the participants involved in the experience. It does not indicate the socio-political or morphological characteristics of a location, but the way citizens or students emotionally interact with it.

Virtual Reality (VR): The possibility to immerse in a completely virtual world using special goggles to visualize computer graphics or computer sound.

Immersion: It is the perception of being physically present in a non-physical world, or a state of consciousness where the user experiences a virtual environment, which appears real and is perceived as real.

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