About

Introduction

Inspired by collective behaviour phenomena ‘The Realm’ combines visual art and computational design with behavioural science to create immersive encounters between human and virtual agents. Through immersive and generative technologies, participants interact with imaginary biological creatures, whose individual and collective actions are driven by rules drawn from real life data. Computational models and player interactions interconnect to create a dynamic co-evolving system, affected by bodily gestures, sounds and social signals.

Context

The Realm aims to challenge the current limits of VR experiences by creating an immersive installation which is not only accessible to multiple users simultaneously, but that is also fundamentally affected, generated and evolved by users.

Taking a behavioural and user-centred approach to VR experience design, we aim to explore social interaction between ‘virtual’ and ‘real’ agents in an imaginary world – one which goes far beyond mere observation, representation or simulation. Moreover, we aim to understand how users intuit behaviours and social cues and how these feed back into the system.

Harnessing the immersive power of VR, combined with programming languages drawn from collective behaviour, sound design and generative art, we place the user at the heart of a dynamic system, interacting with it through embodied and social experience.

As a voyage of discovery and user co-creation, the installation emerges through a process of trial and error. The design process follows an iterative process of user testing and development to create human-centric experiences which convincingly merge natural and artificial life forms.

Timeline

The Realm received research & development funding from Innovate UK Design Foundations Audiences of the Future grant (2018/2019) to develop and test prototypes.

Prototype A: A single-user virtual reality experience exploring collective behaviour phenomena. A prototype has been developed through a process of iterative design and user testing, inviting the visitor to navigate an immersive experience through intuitive interaction with bio-digital agents. We ran 2 user-testing events in Spring 2019 providing invaluable data and feedback. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the development so far…

In June 2019 The Realm team were invited to participate in the 4th Collaborative Workshop on Modeling Collective Behaviour  in New York, organised by Jason Graham (Scranton University), James Curley (UT Austin) & Simon Garnier (NJIT). Over three days a team of collective behaviour experts worked with the team to hack the behavioural biological models and enhance spontaneous coordination.

>>>>> We are currently fundraising for the development of a full-scale multi-user gallery installation… so watch this space.