The research and art project "Wearable Theatre - the Art of Immersive Storytelling" at St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences examines "Virtual Reality" (VR) for its dramatic, narrative, and structural potential.
The goal is the opening up and use of the 360°-VR medium as a form of experience for literary material. As the starting point of the study, authors with an existential-atmospheric narrative style have been selected: Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky, Albert Camus and Max Frisch.
World literature in 360°-VR
Key scenes from the novels "The Demons", "The Fall" and "Homo Faber" serve as a basis for the dramatic and production-technical adaptation process of the figurative and scenic-structural plot in a 360°-VR script.
An interdisciplinary team of authors as well as people from the fields of direction, media art, drama, dramaturgy, composition and media technology are exploring the connections between art and technology, immersion (immersion in VR), empathy as well as virtual reality and literature in this three-year research laboratory.
Promising narrative perspectives through 360°-VR technology.
The research project structures and examines aesthetic variables in twelve experimental steps, wherein each experiment focusses on a specific experience aspect of 360°-VR.
The narrative perspectives of the selected literary sequences are combined with the aesthetic variables with the aim of dramatically utilizing the visual, acoustic and atmospheric possibilities of 360°-VR in their full potential. The research work should be accompanied at regular intervals by scientific symposia and communicated internationally. The project is led by the authors Markus Wintersberger, UAS lecturer in the Department of Media and Digital Technologies at St. Pölten UAS and Marcus Josef Weiss.
New forms of expression, perception and experience
"From a literary and media-artistic point of view, the information obtained should open up new perspectives and narrative patterns of VR-dramaturgies and thus become the impetus for an independent form of artistic expression, perception and experience - the experiential-form of a wearable theatre", said Wintersberger.
"The creation of specific narrative patterns for VR-experiences is a broad field of unexplored possibilities for authors and directors, and the literariness of VR-content will be more oriented to the novel than to drama", explained Marcus Josef Weiss, author, director and head of the department "Drama for Visual Media" at the OAA-Vienna Conservatory for Drama.
New technology for the film market
"The current question is the extent to which VR is, and can become, interesting for film and thereby for the film industry as well as the extent to which film must react to technological developments and the market”, said project collaborator Eva Fischer, the production manager of Diagonale Graz and director of the festival sound:frame.
Hannes Raffaseder, Authorised Signatory of St. Pölten UAS: "I am delighted that with the project we are represented on this unique platform at the interface between art and science. The project connects many years of experience at St. Pölten UAS in the fields of art and media technology".
Project "Wearable Theatre"
The "Wearable Theatre" project is funded by the Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung - FWF (Fund for the Promotion of Scientific Research), in the framework of the Programms zu Entwicklung und Erschileßung der Künste - PEEK (Programme for the Development and Opening Up of the Arts). The national research partner for the project is the OAA-Vienna Conservatory for Drama.