[ISEA2014] Paper: Matthew Riley & Adam Nash – Reproduction: Understanding contemplative interaction via affect and embodiment in a mixed reality artwork


We propose a method of approaching contemplative interaction through an understanding of affect and embodiment that is multi‑layered and multi‑sited across the physical and the virtual. Such an assemblage may be found in so‑called mixed reality artworks that we define as software‑driven works that engage with a specific physical environment and explicitly mediate the boundary between physical and virtual space.

Notions of contemplation have traditionally been associated with the viewing of static visual art rather than an engagement with interactive media, although a number of researchers and artists have recently articulated connections between these two ostensible opposites. We further develop an understanding of how contemplative interaction operates with mixed reality artworks.

Through a critical analysis of several contemporary mixed reality artworks, we identify the nature and quality of the affect cycle in relation to a distributed and hybrid expression of embodiment and its role in contemplative interactive experiences. We also examine the role of reflection, engagement and meaning in this assemblage. Finally, we assert that a meaningful experience of contemplative interaction is constituted when an interactor engages in a collaborative feedback cycle of affect between themselves and the artwork.

  • Matthew Riley, AU, is a PhD candidate at Swinburne University and lecturer at RMIT University. His work has been featured in international exhibitions and publications and he has spoken at events and venues including the Milia Conference (France), The London College of Communication (U.K.), NHK Broadcasting (Japan), xCoAx2014 (Portugal) and The Society for Animation Studies (Melbourne).
  • Adam Nash, AU, is a Melbourne‑based artist, composer, programmer, performer and writer in virtual environments, real‑time 3D and mixed‑reality technology. He explores virtual environments as audiovisual performance spaces, data/motion capture sites and generative platforms. His work has been in galleries, festivals and online worldwide, including SIGGRAPH, ISEA, ZERO1 and the Venice Biennale. He lectures in the Bachelor of Design (Games) at RMIT University.

Full text (PDF) p. 260-264