The Intersection of Digital Humanities and Artistic Augmented/Virtual Reality Research in Hong Kong

The Intersection of Digital Humanities and Artistic Augmented/Virtual Reality Research in Hong Kong

Eugenia S. Kim (Leonardo21 Limited, Hong Kong)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7195-7.ch002

Abstract

Immersive media such as augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) environments are growing in popularity both globally and in Hong Kong. In the artistic research sector, these projects may or may not have systematic digital preservation, data curation, or other digital stewardship components built into the creative process. Although digital multimedia preservation has been a long-standing topic of discussion for archivists, the complexity of immersive media projects raises questions regarding best practices and ensuring future accessibility. The author proposes that artistic AR/VR research in Hong Kong could benefit from the application of digital humanities practices, whether it be for archival, research, or further artistic purposes. This chapter reviews case studies in Hong Kong academic institutions to identify existing needs and makes recommendations for incorporating digital humanities practices into the creative and project management processes.
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Background

The notion of digital environments that “immerse” a viewer has existed as a concept since before the advent of digital computing devices (Lister, Dovey, Giddings, Grant, & Kelly, 2008). Of all the types of immersive media available at the time of writing, AR and VR environments are perhaps the most available to the general public as evidenced by the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Sony VR and apps for smartphones. The concept of virtual reality itself is not new, having started with the publication of Ivan Sutherland’s 1965 paper (Blanchard et al., 1990) and Jaron Lanier’s work via VPL Research (Lister et al., 2008). What is new, however, is the degree to which immersive media pervades both daily society and academic research. Within the latter area, there are a number of disciplines that use AR and VR for interdisciplinary projects: computer science, creative arts, various engineering fields, medical science, and more. For the purposes of this book chapter, the author will focus on the work produced in the arts and humanities fields for artistic and cultural heritage purposes.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Augmented Reality: A form of virtual reality (VR) technology where computer-generated images are superimposed upon physical environments by means of a viewing device. Also abbreviated AR.

Digital Humanities: The application of digital technology and computational methods to the arts, humanities, and social science disciplines for access, dissemination, preservation, and re-use.

Digital Cultural Heritage: The application of digital technology to the presentation and preservation of cultural heritage (e.g., geographic locations, physical artefacts, intangible attributes, etc.).

Digital Preservation: A set of library and archival science practices to ensure the integrity and accessibility to digital content over time.

CAVE: Acronym for cave automatic virtual environment. An immersive VR environment consisting of projections on three to six walls or flat panel displays.

Immersive Media: Multimedia environments that create the sensation of being physically immersed in a virtual world.

Multimedia: A range of media formats (i.e., audio, video, images) for artistic, communicative, or interdisciplinary purposes. Increasingly in digital form.

Virtual Reality: A computer-simulated audio-visual environment that a user can interact with by means of electronic controls.

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