Towards a Fulldome Manifesto: Tour d'Horizon for the Immersive-Inclined

Towards a Fulldome Manifesto: Tour d'Horizon for the Immersive-Inclined

Micky Remann (Fulldome Festival Foundation, Germany) and Kelley M. Francis (Independent Researcher, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2433-6.ch005
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The time for a Fulldome Manifesto has come because fulldome as an immersive, surround, communal medium is happening now. It comes as a vast vessel and in new form, with deep changes in the production and perception of 360-degree media. Within seconds, and without changing seat or body, one can switch from visiting a church, mosque, synagogue, or temple to being lured onto The Red Light District on a custom, generative, real-time responsive, science-fiction planet. Fulldome's mere scale can provoke profound wonder and interconnectedness and encapsulate the intersection of all media disciplines, unlike any other multimedia vessels humans have built so far. Like the membrane of a cell, fulldome houses the cross mingling of desires, projections, and technological abilities. In Tour d'Horizon For The Immersive Inclined, authors venture Towards a Fulldome Manifesto—exploring fulldome as a medium, venue, and genre while pointing to its promise for the advancement of immersive media.
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With media expanding from square screen to the world around us, a vivid projected multimedia arena has found a way to immerse us not only in worlds out beyond in deep space, but also in our own inner worlds. Technological evolution has caught up with this spherical, multisensory venue to emerge as a medium, and soon one to host humans as they transcend perception, time, space, and habitats of consciousness.

The dome in the 21st century is associated with sober science visualization, psychedelic experimentation, future-city dreaming, planetariums, Burning Man, and Las Vegas-scale entertainment. This medium has emerged as an interdisciplinary hotbed for DIY culture, citizen science, technologists, futurists, and free-thinking storytellers, cultivated in science centers and planetariums among star-gazers.

This piece has been written as a Manifesto underway; “Towards” indicates that we explore core building blocks of the fulldome medium, which shape where we are with the medium in contemporary times and what is on the near horizon. Being delivered as a “Manifesto in the making” allows for the switching of viewpoints from generalist to practical, from radical to informative, at times inspirational, sometimes satirical—and with the accompaniment of anecdotal evidence from the authors’ experience.

The growth of such a medium is perpetual and ongoing (Figure 1). Here the authors cull from history to cast an evolution of the captured image from cave paintings, to imprinting images deep within the psyche of an audience by pairing tech with technique. Enjoy this tour of the discipline coupled with a tour of the mind, as small and large-scale fulldome experiences are used to paint a vision for how this medium is finding its way into a community near you; and how visioneers are engineering their use for profound impact.

Figure 1.

Immersive dome experiences are bubbles of indefinite opportunity

Source: Photo by Torsten Hemke / Fulldome Festival Foundation

Picture was taken at the Jena FullDome Festival, with artist Alexander Stephan experimenting with 3D effects for fulldome shows.

Why is diving deep into the world of fulldome an Alice-in-Wonderland-esque eye and mind-opening endeavor?

This burgeoning medium invites future butterflies to come out from cocooning. Giants and giant-themed entertainment domes are to soon hit mainstream accessibility. Wellness domes, which cure wear and fatigue, aren’t far away either. From petite single-user experiences projected inches from an individual’s eyes, to massive gatherings hosting thousands under one sphere, from 360-degree projected macro-mites or mega-structure vessels embracing the multitudes, immersive dome experiences are bubbles of indefinite opportunity! Mix in some healthy utopian pragmatism and this piece is a testament to its evolution!

Key Terms in this Chapter

Generative Systems: Generative systems are technologies with the overall capacity to produce unprompted change driven by input.

Immersive Theatre: Theater that immerses audiences within the performance itself.

Fulldome: Fulldome refers to immersive dome-based video projection environments. The dome, horizontal or tilted, is filled with real-time or pre-rendered computer animations; live capture images, and/or composited environments among other integrated medias.

Immersive: Story, experience, and instillations that invigorate the mind and immerse an audience or audience member in their experience.

Fulldome Festival: A 360-degree cinema, art, live performance, and/or entertainment gathering.

Avant-Immersive: Forefront experimentation towards discovery in the medium of immersive art and media.

Real-Time Computing: A real-time system is one which controls an environment by receiving data, processing that data, and returning the results sufficiently and quickly enough to affect the environment within milliseconds and without latency (the measure of the time delay experienced by a multimedia system).

Artificial Intelligence: Computer science dealing with the simulation and development of intelligent behavior in computers.

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