[ISEA2015] Paper: Daria Tsoupikova, Scott Rettberg, Roderick Coover & Arthur Nishimoto – Hearts and Minds: The Residue of War

Abstract (Short paper)

Keywords: Virtual reality, interactive installation, performance, immersive environments, visualization, art, storytelling, torture, digital humanities.

Hearts and Minds: The Interrogations Project is an interactive installation made for the CAVE2™ large-scale 320-degree panoramic virtual reality environment that visualizes stories of violence and the post-traumatic stress experienced by ordinary American soldiers who became torturers in the course of serving their country. During the American-led counterinsurgency and counterterrorism campaigns in Iraq in the years after September 11, 2001, the torture and abuse of detainees was a commonplace tactic. The project is based on interviews of American soldiers and attempts to extend and make accessible difficult narratives based on the actual testimonies involved. By bridging together different stories and environments, the project uses visualization to provide conditions for stories to unfold—stories that connect the homes that soldiers come from and return to, with distant experiences of war. The immersion of the CAVE2 virtual reality theater allows for a different type of affective experience of the narrative, activated through the visceral immersion in the visual and auditory environment. The project represents a complex contemporary issue and provides a platform for discussion of military interrogation methods and their effects on detainees, soldiers, and society. The project was developed through a unique international collaboration between artists, scientists, and researchers from five different universities.

  • Daria Tsoupikova, University of Illinois at Chicago, IL, USA, is an Associate Professor in the School of Design and the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research and artwork include development of virtual reality (VR) art
    projects and networked multi-user exhibitions for VR projection systems, such as the Cave Automatic Virtual Environment theatre (CAVE2™), as well as the design of interactive educational multimedia for children. Her VR research, publications and artwork explore the relationship between the aesthetics of virtual environments, traditional arts, and the effect of VR aesthetics on the user’s perceptions and emotions. Her work lies at the crossroads of artistic and technological innovation, and explores the potential of new media and interactivity in relation to traditional arts. Her current works are applications of computer graphics art to various research domains such as educational multimedia, cultural heritage and virtual rehabilitation for stroke survivors. Her work was exhibited and published at ACM SIGGRAPH, IEEE VR, ISEA and many other venues.
  • Arthur Nishimoto, University of Illinois at Chicago, IL, USA, is a doctoral student in the Department of Computer Science and Research Assistant at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research interests include user interaction on large scalable resolution display environments, virtual reality, and video game design. He has previously developed interactive applications on the EVL CyberCommons multi-touch wall including the 20-foot Virtual Canvas and Fleet Commander which has been exhibited at SIGGRAPH and Supercomputing. He is currently working on user interface design for large multi-touch walls as well as designing immersive interactive applications for the CAVE2™ Hybrid-Reality Environment.
  • Scott Rettberg, University of Bergen, Norway, is Professor of Digital Culture in the Department of Linguistic, Literary, and Aesthetic studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. Rettberg was the project leader of ELMCIP (Electronic Literature as a Model of
    Creativity and Innovation in Practice), an EU- and HERAfunded collaborative research project, and a founder of the Electronic Literature Organization. Rettberg is the author
    or coauthor of novel-length works of electronic literature, combinatory poetry, and films including The Unknown, Kind of Blue, Implementation, Frequency, Three Rails Live, Toxi•City and others. His creative work has been exhibited online and at art venues including the Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum, Palazzo delle Arti Napoli, Beall Center, the Slought Foundation, The Krannert Art Museum, and elsewhere. Rettberg is a native of the Chicago area and was a visiting researcher at UIC while on sabbatical during Spring 2014.
  • Roderick Coover, Temple University, PA, USA, is Director of the Graduate Program in Film and Media Arts at Temple University (Philadelphia) and Founding Director of the Documentary Arts and Ethnographic Practice Program. He makes films, interactive cinema, installations and webworks. Some of his latest projects include the interactive series Unknown Territories (unknownterritories.org) about exploration in the American West and the edited book, Switching Codes: Thinking Through Digital Technology In The Humanities And Arts (Chicago 2011). A pioneer in interactive documentary arts and poetics, his works are distributed through Video Data Bank, DER, Eastgate Systems and elsewhere. His creative  work has been exhibited online and at art venues including SIGGRAPH, Documenta Madrid, The American Philosophical Society Museum, Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum  among others.

Full text (PDF) p. 473-476