Digital Media Art Project: narrative, interaction and fruition

Digital Media Art Project: narrative, interaction and fruition

Narrative, interaction and fruition are key elements for structuring a Digital Media Art Project. 

Indeed, these components develop the methodological approach of our art-practice based research. 

Furthermore, these key elements structure and characterise the project and, consequently, define its future developments.

In this regard, I was asked for the definition of narrative, interaction and fruition elements within my project. So, here we go:

Narrative, interaction and fruition elements
Figure 1: behind the scenes of the exhibition I'm watching you/me © Lufo Art, 2019

Pre-concept: The Musicality of Drawing

Before entering the development of narrative, interaction and fruition, I will need to mention what I have in mind for the concept of the project. Afterward, we will understand better the following concepts.

Hence, the aimed concept is “The Musicality of Drawing”. It stands for questions like how do we see music? What music do you hear watching to a certain drawing? In other words, I would like to dive deeper on the interaction between a drawing, a VR environment, and live music

Although the concept will have a fully dedicated entry, I would like to leave a note for the future developments. Its definition should consider: first, the methodological definitions, and second, the previous artistic experiences. The former were developed within the essay Methodological definitions for practice-based research with Immersive Hybrid Models (Olivero, 2022)*. The second part is connected with the real situations that I have dealt while creating handmade VR drawings using the equirectangular format, and listening to live music (cfr. PMAD – The Starting Point). 

*A short article for the module MIPA (Metodologia de Investigação e Produção Artística)

Narrative /development

Will your artefact tell a story? Allow you to live part of a narrative? Will it lead the audience to a conclusion? Or will it be more atmospheric/environmental, relying on sensations?

Keeping the concept in mind, I introduce two versions of the artefact. Each version plays and explores different parts of the same narrative, although with a different interaction and fruition. In short, these are two different ways for playing with something visible and something invisible, i.e., a VR handmade drawing and the sensations that some music provokes respectively.

Versions

v1

On the one hand, the v1 will be the MVP (minimal viable product), thus the functional version for the Retiro 2022. 

In detail, this version focuses on the subjective reading, i.e., the phenomenological social reading (Lee, 1991, pp. 347–348, Olivero, 2022, p. 8). That is to say that the narrative focuses the experience that the visitor has during the fruition of a special set of media. In particular, this set is generated and/or gathered by the artist.

Henceforth, the artefact has the goal of understanding how visitors relate a visual artwork with a musical expression. 

v2

On the other hand, v2’s implementation will rely on two things: first, the time available before the Retiro. And second, the real developments achieved before July. Otherwise, v2 will be implemented after, as a complementary work for the thesis. 

The v2 of the artefact includes the previous features plus an extended modality: expression. Hence, the user can also contribute to the visual product. 

This version of the artefact should align with the inquire’s definitions made on (Olivero, 2022, p. 8). In this case I focus: first, on a phenomenological social construction (both reading and expressing). Second, on a hermeneutical exploration. In fact, v2’s narrative should bring people nearer to spherical perspective basic knowledge. Consequently, showing them a new way of thinking and expressing. Indeed, even a person without any knowledge on perspective should be able to learn fundamental concepts by interacting with the artefact (by trial-and-error).

Narrative, interaction and fruition elements
Figure 2: Flow of thoughts about "The Musicality of Drawing"

Communication

How will these aspects be communicated?

Both versions of the artefact should have elements pointing out the project’s functionalities. For example, the interaction with the VR environment can be highlighted as it follows: first, setting up a general dark configuration. Second, using a directional light, right on top of the element that commands the interaction (a mobile phone).

Furthermore, graphic material (e.g., brochure, flyers) should accompany the artefact to let visitors understanding how the installation works. Also, there might be the possibility of looping a video if a secondary computer or a screen are available.

Finally, I shall thoroughly study the interface for giving a great user interaction experience. In this case, working with an UX/UI designer might be also helpful.

Interaction / Evolution

How will there be interaction between the public and the artefact? Will the artefact evolve according to that interaction or will it be immutable, always delivering the same content and the same experience?

v1

Thus, V1 should have available the same quantity X of paintings and songs. Consequently, the user will be able to choose a different drawing and a different song. In fact, X2 possible output combinations.

v2

On the other hand, v2 puts a certain input so to start. However, it allows new artworks and/or their reuse/vandalisation. Therefore, the artefact evolves and goes more complex according to the interaction. Indeed, v2 output is a social construction thanks to the possibility of allowing simultaneous collaborations. 

Interaction modality

  1. Exhibition of graphical and musical inputs.
  2. The visitor watches and interacts with the VR drawings while listening to the music.*
  3. The visitor pairs a certain music with a certain drawing.
  4. A survey is conducted to determine the socio-phenomenological conditions of the reading.
* Depending on several factors, I could perform a live drawing session during the Retiro. To clarify, the live performance depends on the possibilities of transport, the physical space availability, the developments for calibrating the camera, etc. 
If I manage to do the live performance, I will be using headphones and hearing a songs/artist while drawing. Therefore, visitors will watch the visual output projected onto the screen. Furthermore, they will interact with it using an external mobile device (Figure 3). Then, they would be able to choose a song and select the best match.
** The expression modality is compatible with the live drawing session. To clarify, up to three artists / collaborators can interact simultaneously.
  1. Exhibition of graphical and musical inputs.
  2. The visitor watches and interacts with the VR drawings while listening to the music.*
  3. The visitor select between “read” or “express”:

(mode: read)

  1. The visitor chooses or adds keywords and concepts to characterise both drawings and songs (this is an automatised part of the survey from v1).
  2. The visitor pairs a certain music with a certain drawing.

(mode: express)

  1. The visitor chooses how to draw by selecting: first, a medium (physical or digital), and second, a modality (continue/vandalising an existing drawing or creating a new one).**
  2. The visitor chooses a song.
  3. The visitor draws/vandalise expressing their own feelings.
  4. The visitor chooses or adds keywords and concepts to characterise both the own drawing and the chosen song. In essence, this is an automatised part of the survey from v1.
Narrative, interaction and fruition elements
Figure 3: Chiara Masiero Sgrinzatto testing the artefact during the exhibition at ARTECH 2021. Ph: Lucas Fabian Olivero

Experience / Fruition

What are the requirements for the public to fully enjoy the experience that your artefact is intended to communicate?

v1
  • to see (visual elements)
  • to listen (sound elements)
  • to move the mobile phone (VR navigation)
  • to operate the interface (interaction/survey)
  • to realise: first, the way the artist expressed the musicality of the drawings. Second, spherical perspective principles, by comparison between the flat drawing and the VR environment (basic understanding of the artefact)
v2
  • to see (visual elements)
  • to listen (sound elements)
  • to move the mobile phone (VR navigation)
  • to operate the interface (interaction/survey)
  • to have some basic knowledge on perspective, ideally about spherical perspectives (full understanding of the artefact)
Narrative, interaction and fruition elements
Figure 4: Studying diagrams and the installation's setup

Is there an associated performance component? Is the performance performed by the public or by someone from the artist/creator’s team? Are there any limiting conditions for the fruition to occur? 

The artist and/or eventual collaborators do a live performance by drawing. Indeed, the movement of the body while drawing is in itself a way of showing and reading the sensations that the person is receiving, processing and expressing. Moreover, in a future version of v2, there could be a performance collaboration with a musician. 

Since the exhibition will be a shared presentation, the possible limits might lie in the availability of physical space. Additionally, further complications might be associated with the calibration of the camera for the live drawing session. 

CONCLUSION

I have developed thoughts about the narrative, interaction and fruition elements. Consequently, the project is now getting defined in two different versions: the first for reading a certain media set, while the second for interacting and creating content in a collaborative way.

Indeed, in the first version, people will be reading, relating and characterising certain artistic products. To clarify, in v1 drawings are made by the artist and read passively by the visitors. Hence, this stage aims to explore in which degree my own reading as artist matches the visitors reading. In other words, v1 compares the subjective reading of the researcher with the subjective reading of a certain group (Lee, 1991, pp. 350–355)

On the other hand, visitors will be not just reading but also expressing themselves using a different way of thinking and feeling. This time, there is a crossed reading and a crossed collaboration for the social construction of an artwork. In addition, such a construction is the result of an hermeneutical circle (Taylor, 1971). Thus, an intellectual circle where the user learns at every interaction (by instant visual feedback) about the subject.

For the next entries, I shall narrow down the proposal to a more concrete prototype. Indeed, I urgently need to set up a first functional version for testing purposes. Also, I shall concentrate with the interface and the survey, two components that will be crucial for the gathering of the data.

In either case, narrative, interaction and fruition elements reinforce the unexplored aspects of the Hybrid Immersive Models research. In effect, they clarify the application within digital arts by following the criteria, guidelines and methodological definitions such as Translation, Holistic Approach, Usefulness, Audience Response, Artfulness and Multiple Meanings developed and studied at/from (Olivero, 2022, Leavy, 2020, Schön, 2017, Carpentier, 2021).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Carpentier, N., & Sumiala, J. (2021). Introduction: Arts-Based Research in Communication and Media Studies. Comunicazioni Sociali : Journal of Media, Performing Arts and Cultural Studies: Nuova Serie : XLIII, 1, 2021. https://doi.org/10.26350/001200_000125

Leavy, P. (2020). Methods meets art: Arts-based research practice (Third edition).The Guilford Press.

Lee, A. S. (1991). Integrating Positivist and Interpretive Approaches to Organizational Research. Organization Science, 2(4), 342–365. JSTOR. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2635169

Olivero, L. F. (2022). Methodological definitions for practice-based research with Immersive Hybrid Models. Available at: https://secureservercdn.net/160.153.138.219/y3d.66a.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/LucasFabianOlivero_a74344_ens01.pdf

Schön, D. A. (2017). The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315237473

Taylor, C. (1971). Interpretation and the Sciences of Man. The Review of Metaphysics, 25(1), 3–51. JSTOR. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20125928