The ‘Immersive Lab’ is an artistic and technological research project of the Institute of Computer Music and Sound Technology
at the Zurich University of the Arts. It is a media space that integrates panoramic video, surround audio with full touch interaction on the entire screen surface. The ‘Immersive Lab’ provides a platform for a catalogue of artistic works that are specifically tailored to the unique situation that this configuration offers. These works articulate the relationship between immersive media and direct interaction. It functions both as a space for experimental learning and creation and as a permanent audiovisual installation for the general public, showing finished pieces in a self-explanatory way.This installation as a platform is the fruit of several years of investigation and artistic creation. The term Immersion
is used in a broader sense. Apart from spatial envelopment by image and sound, additional levels of immersions are generated for the visitors: they enter into a dedicated physical space, direct tactile interaction on the panoramic surface enhances their personal engagement, and finally within the shared space arise group behaviour and social interactions. Such an extended form of immersion provides a multi-faceted experience.The compositions can be collaboratively created and combine visual and sonic material with generative and algorithmic methods. The artistic approach focuses on real-time pieces that react to visitor interaction and that take advantage of the panoramic nature of the installation.
Different forms of engagement are possible within the installation. The audience can freely explore the works and experience different types of perceptions. Artists can experiment with the development of compositional strategies for working with different senses and artistic domains. The installation exposes foundational aspects of immersion such as spatial and multi-sensory perception, which provide interesting topics for investigation.Work in the ‘Immersive Lab’ happens in different phases, activities, and addresses different people. In a teaching context, in general, any student can visit the lab in guided tours. Students majoring in electronic music or media arts, however, are invited to actively learn by exploring the inner workings of existing pieces. Artists and advanced students have the opportunity to become involved more intensely by creating entirely new pieces. For this, the ICST offers to share its experience, methods, and tools for development and realization of ideas for this particular media space. Finally, in the exhibition context, general audiences are invited to experience the catalogue of works.