[ISEA2020] Paper: Sojung Bahng, Nina Rajcic, Elliott Wilson, Jon McCormack & Sungeun Lee — Sleeping Eyes: VR narcolepsy storytelling through the duality of presence

Abstract (short paper)

Keywords: Virtual Reality, presence, embodiment, disembodiment, reflexivity, narcolepsy, non-linear narrative

Sleeping Eyes is an interactive cinematic virtual reality (VR) piece that tells the story of a narcoleptic Korean artist, Sungeun Lee. VR was used as a medium to represent the symptoms of narcolepsy and provoke fundamental reflections on the boundary between dreams and reality. In VR, even if we are immersed in the virtual world, we simultaneously exist in the physical world. This duality of presence and embodiment resonates with Sungeun’s narcoleptic states. We investigated these ontological similarities as a catalyst to provoke the audience’s self-reflection about Sungeun’s situation. Non-linear narrative and gamification techniques were applied to allow the audience actively explore the stories. Additionally, a heart-rate sensor was used to visualize the audience’s stress states, implicitly making them aware of their own feelings about the artwork.

  • Sungeun Lee, Independent Artist, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Sojung Bahng is an artist, new media filmmaker and researcher based in Melbourne and Seoul. She is a creative director for Artengine, a multidisciplinary art and research group in South Korea. Sojung holds a PhD from SensiLab at Monash University in Australia and graduated from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) with a master’s degree in Culture Technology. She also holds a BFA from Korea National University of Arts (K-Arts), with a major in TV & Film Production and Art Theory. Sojung explores cinematic media via digital technologies to reflect aesthetic and narrative experiences in cultural and philosophical contexts. Sojung’s works have been shown in many countries. Her interactive VR project “Anonymous” was shown at Bucheon International Animation Film Festival, Torino Short Film Market and Tbilisi International Animation Festival. Sojung’s 360° essay film “Floating Walk” was nominated for Social Impact Media Awards in Los Angeles, and her dance film “Poetry of Separation” was screened at NDC in New York. Sojung’s experimentations into architectural cinema and VR projects were exhibited or presented at various international symposiums and conferences, such as ISEA, ArtsIT, ICIDS, TEI, and SIGCHI and more. She also curated and directed an art and technology exhibition called “Somplexity” funded by Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture. sojungb.com
  • Nina Rajcic, Elliott Wilson & Jon McCormack, SensiLab, Faculty of IT, Monash University Melbourne, Australia