Salon 5 Immersion and Participation

Immersion and Participation dissected the interplay of immersion, interaction, participation, technology, and innovative communication, especially as they pertain to museums. Immersion evokes total envelopment, the plunge into a separate, all-encompassing physical or mental space. Artistic practice is deeply connected to this idea, and so too can be the experience of engaging with art. Viewers can be transported by their exposure to a work, even overcome by a Stendhal Syndrome–like vertigo. Museum galleries can similarly be conceived as immersive experiences that transport the visitor out of everyday life.

Participation, however—exchange, interactivity, commitment—has become the Holy Grail for most museums and for many designers, architects, and artists. The concept is not new, but recent technological innovations have enabled experiments with enhanced storytelling techniques, and have also introduced a demand for more complex, involving, and multi-sensorial experiences on the part of the audience.

Watch the videos from the salon and explore some of these questions: What is the rapport between immersion and participation? What is the future role of immersive technology in art museums? In education? Can immersive technology have a role not only in education, marketing, and entertainment, but also in social science and policy making? Can an experience be technologically mediated and immersive but not controlling? Can a museum visitor meet art on her own terms if the environment is an immersive one?

The salon took place on June 11th, 2013.


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