Patrick Neff / Jan Schacher / Daniel Bisig
State Dependency – Audiovisual interaction through brain states.

In: Proceedings of the 16th Sound and Music Computing Conference (SMC 2019), pages 26–33, Malaga, Spain.

Artistic installations using brain-computer interfaces (BCI) to interact with media in general, and sound in specific, have become increasingly numerous in the last years. Brain or mental states are commonly used to drive musical score or sound generation as well as visuals. Closed loop setups can emerge here which are comparable to the propositions of neurofeedback (NFB). The aim of our audiovisual installation State Dependency, driven by brain states and motor imagery, was to enable the participant to engage in unbound exploration of movement through sound and space unmediated by one’s corporeality. With the aid of an adaptive feedback loop, perception is taken to the edge. We deployed a BCI to collect motor imagery, visual and cognitive neural activity to calculate approximate entropy (a second order measure of neural signal activity) which was in turn used to interact with the surround Immersive Lab installation. The use of entropy measures on motor imagery and various sensory modalities generates a highly accessible, reactive and immediate experience transcending common limitations of the BCI technology. State dependency goes beyond common practice of abstract routing between mental or brain with external audiovisual states. It provides new territory of unrestrained kinaesthetic and polymodal exploration in an immersive audiovisual environment.

PDF | proceedings

Jan C. Schacher / Daniel Bisig
Haunting Space, Social Interaction in a Large-Scale Media Environment.

In: R. Bernhaupt et al. (Eds.): INTERACT 2017, Part I, LNCS 10513, pp. 242–262, 2017. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-67744-6_17

The Immersive Lab is a platform for the development and experience of large-scale audio-visual and interactive media arts. In this article we investigate questions of audience engagement, artistic strate- gies, and interaction principles, as well as the effects of embodied and social interactions that become evident in this media environment. Using the catalogue of artistic works developed for this platform within the past five years as our material, we carry out qualitative inquiries through interviews and categorisations. The emerging insights generate a clear perspective on the convergence as well as discrepancies between the artist’s intentions and the behaviours of visitors in the media space and allow us to, if not definitively state, then at least speculate about uni- versal aspects that each encounter in the media arts context entails.

Keywords: Social interaction · Interactive media space · Artistic strategies · Interaction principles · Qualitative methods · Multi-modal perception

PDF | publisher

Daniel Bisig
In Traumwelten eingebettet

In: Zett, Das Magazin der Zürcher Hochchule der Künste, 5. October 2017

Das Immersive Lab ist eine ringförmig angelegte 360-Grad-Installation. Sie kann Bilder und Töne wiedergeben und interagiert mit den Besucherinnen und Besuchern via Berührung. Zudem ist sie sehr anpassungsfähig und lässt sich für vielfältige Experimente nutzen. Der Schweizerische Nationalfonds SNF ermöglicht es nun, das Immersive Lab der ZHdK zu einer didaktischen Experimentierplattform für ein breites Publikum umzubauen.


Bojan Milosevic / Jan C. Schacher
The Immersive Lab: An interactive audio‐visual space for artistic exploration.

In: Proceedings of Korean Electro-Acoustic Music Society’s 2015 Annual Conference (KEAMSAC2015) Seoul, Korea, 2-3 October 2015

This article discusses the Immersive Lab, an artistic and technological research project of the Institute of Computer Music and Sound Technology at the Zurich University of the Arts. The installation is a media space that integrates panoramic video, surround audio with full touch interaction on its screens. The main characteristics of this project as well as the way of functioning and organisation of installation structure are exposed. Through examples of completed artistic works the possibilities provided by the Immersive Lab environment are highlighted, and the realisation of various ideas by a number of artists shows the potential and limitations of this idea.


In the Press:

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 09.08.46
San Diego City Beat, 09-09-2015 » Page 20

By Seth Combs

UCSD’s collaborative music-and-art project defies classification 

The idea behind UC San Diego’s Initiative for Digital Exploration of Arts and Sciences (IDEAS) Performance Series seems simple enough: To encourage artists, musicians, engineers and even scientists to use the university’s state-of-theart Qualcomm Institute space to stage experimental and avantgarde performances. The series takes place throughout the school year, but for one particularly interesting presentation, even one of the main players isn’t sure she can fully explain it.

“I’d probably say that it’s audiovisual art,” says musician and UCSD music composition professor Katharina Rosenberger, describing Immersion Lab (, which will debut at UCSD on Oct. 9. “There’s an audio sound component combined with visual aspects. Both are equally important and influence each other in the creation of the work as well as the perception of it.”

As simply put as possible, but still not fully doing it justice: The Immersion Lab is a collaborative project between multiple creators working in a variety of fields. There’s a visual element in the form of an enveloping, panoramic room that projects startling digital art all around the viewer. There is the music component, coming in the form of Rosenberger’s ethereal and experimental compositions. There’s even a cognitive science element to the piece from fellow UCSD professor David Kirsh.

Just as Immersion Lab is a collaborative project, it’s the interactivity that’s the key to it functioning the way its creators intended.

Yes, there are layers upon layers of collaborative elements that go into the piece (there is also a dozen or so UCSD students developing art projects around the Lab), but what truly separates it from being just another music-and-art installation piece is that it’s just

Jan Schacher, who created the Immersion Lab in 2009 with partner Daniel Bisig at the Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology at Zurich University of the Arts in Switzerland. “Rather, it embraces the visitor in a sensorial and physical space that immediately acts on the senses. It enables direct engagement with the installation, but also fosters the social interaction and explorations within a group in the space.”

Schacher and Bisig created Immersive Lab to always be a collaborative project, and Rosenberger agrees that even with all the digias important for the viewer to be involved. When visiting Immersion Lab, four or so people are let into the room and are encouraged to interact with it. The panels that make up the panoramic projection screen are all touch-screen and the music and digital video aspects will react when viewers touch the screens. That is, you’re not just immersed in the Immersion Lab, you’re reacting, responding and, most importantly, participating in it. Just don’t call it virtual reality.

“It’s clear that the Immersive Lab does not present a virtual reality-type of immersion,” says tal elements, it’s the human and collective elements of the Lab that make it so unique.

“Virtual reality is something very isolating. We are often alone and the sharing of experiences is kind of limited, but with this, the experience is interactive and it takes into account group interaction. You start to be aware that what you do affects other people too,” says Rosenberger. “It’s like you want to understand what’s going on with this digital being, but you also want to understand the real humans next to you and how they interact with it. That’s a really great part of it.”