[ISEA2020] Paper: Liron Efrat & Brittany Myburgh — Seeing is Sensing: Three Strategies for Multisensory Experience in Mixed Reality Art


Keywords: Mixed-Reality, Virtual Reality, Critical Empathy, Locative Media, Multisensory Experience, Interactivity, Embodiment

In this paper we outline three strategies used by Mixed Reality (MR) artists to produce experiences that challenge vision as a single sense modality. The interactions enabled in the works that we discuss emphasize how virtual technologies produce embodied experiences and a mixed sense of reality, thereby reconceptualizing both MR and virtual technologies as multisensorial embodied practices. Exploring three different installations, we show how this mode of multi-sensory experience is also a multi-media phenomenon. Seeking to reconsider both the ‘self-world’ and the ‘self-other’ relationships, these installations further demonstrate how such induced embodied experiences can be utilized to initiate what we understand as a sense of critical empathy. In seeking to both virtually and physically place the viewer in an/other body, an/other space, or in granting them access to an/other history or cultural knowledge, these works fundamentally aim to shift viewers’ perspectives of their environment, while at the same time exposing the constraints of their own embodied position. 

  • Liron Efrat is a Ph.D. Candidate researching XR applications in cultural and artistic contexts. She was a resident scholar at the McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto, Canada, and serves a data analyst in the AR and VR art project “Imaginary Jewish Homelands”. Liron is currently working on establishing an online database of cultural heritage AR apps, to be available under the archiving platform Fabric of Digital Life. lironefrat.com
  • Brittany Louise Myburgh is a PhD candidate in Art History at the University of Toronto, Canada. Her research is broadly concerned with the intersections of technology, society, and early twentieth century art. She is also the founder and journal manager of art magazine ‘The Six Hundred’. Originally from Aotearoa/New Zealand, Brittany maintains an interest in contemporary Oceanic artistic practices and manages ‘Re:Locations’, the University of Toronto’s Journal of the Asia Pacific-World.