an immersive illusion by angela perrone, regina vetka & emmanuel klein
Nowhere, Somewhere is an immersive experience that brings the user on a journey into the illusion of being nowhere, in the middle of somewhere.
Space is finite. We live in cities, enter buildings, apartments, and rooms going evermore into smaller and smaller spaces progressively into more and more synthetic ordered spaces. What if you went in, but entered into something expansive and natural? “Nowhere, Somewhere” aims to be an immersive outdoor space, indoors, that takes the user on a journey to the middle of nowhere, in the middle of somewhere. Enter, explore, interact, be nowhere, somewhere.
Enter Nowhere, Somewhere by crawling through a small space on the floor and entering an infinite space in the middle of a forest. Experience 24 hours of time in a vast forest in 1 minute and a half, without ever leaving 5×5 feet of a building in the middle of Manhattan. You can disappear to nowhere, in the vast expanse of somewhere.
This is accomplished through back projecting onto a standing shower tent, using two projectors, Isadora software, immersive sound and projection mapping. This project creaties the illusion of being in a place of infinite space for a long period of time, when in reality they are in a confined area for a brief passing moment.
We all worked together on ideation, concept development, scenic design, image capture and projection. Other roles included:
Angela Perrone: sound design, research, production coordinator
Regina Vetka: visual design, atmospheric design
Emmanuel Klein: photography, image editing, animation
We came together with a design goal to create an immersive experience that transports the visitor to a remote place, causing them to experience an illusion that they are actually in that place, not where they actually are.
We researched interactive exhibits and different environments that we wanted to explore.
We narrowed down our idea to creating an experience of an exhibit that is indoors, that makes the user feel like they are actually out doors. In light of this, we took a trip to The Lowline to see what it might feel like to be outdoors, indoors.
We took a trip to I Hate Perfume, a gallery that explores the art of scent and oils, to sniff out the possibility of adding smell to the experience. The oils work in a way that they are best experienced by the one wearing it, not necessarily for providing smell to a larger space.
Creating The Visuals & Assets:
The next part of our journey was to create the visuals for the project, so we grabbed a Ricoh Theta 360 camera and a tripod to the middle of Central Parks untapped wilderness to grab some 360 shots.
We stumbled upon this image of which the perspective informed us of the next point in our story: the user will feel as though they are crawling out of somewhere into this pocket of nowhere.
Emmanuel pulled the image into photoshop, masked out the sky, and made some edits as we gathered moving sky footage for the background. He then edited the clip in aftereffects to show a rolling sky from night to day, creating a complete 24-hour seamless loop. Gathering sounds from freesound.org , I edited together a soundscape, an audio story to accompany the user on their journey to nowhere.
The final cut looks like this:
Putting It Together:
It was finally time to put the structure together. Taking two pole mounts, two projectors and a shower tent, we began to test out how our piece would come together. A major part of the project was to have the entire structure hidden, so the users do not know what size space they are entering before they go into the experience. We needed a way to hide the tent and projectors and to also create a long crawl tunnel for the entrance.
Once we knew that the projection would work and approximately what size space we would need for the set-up, we chose a room to house the project that would meet those needs. The room selected was the “meeting room” in the lobby of the ITP Floor.
The tent was placed by the entrance of the sliding glass door, and a long table was attached at the entrance to the tent. The table was covered in black curtains to create the tunnel, and the glass doors were masked with black curtains to block the light and the view into the structure. The poles and projectors were placed at those approximate distances from the tent.
Inside the tent we added moss which brought a damp coolness and smell of dew to the space. We then projection mapped the visuals using Isadora, with both projectors hooked up to one Macbook Pro using two thunderbolt cables. Projector one covered the top, side and back of the tent and projector 2 covered the other side. The front of the tent was not projected onto, as it was not meant to be viewed. The perspective the view takes is that idea of climbing up out of the ground into this world ahead and above.
Hidden within the walls of the room, behind black curtains, the setup looked like this:
The Final Setup:
Nowhere, Somewhere is experienced by one person at a time. The user enters the space by crawling through a tunnel and reaching the opening of the deeper space. At this point the user is transported to the middle of nowhere, in the middle of somewhere. They can stay as long as they want and experience many 24-hours, or leave after entry. The experience is up to the person in the space to enjoy being Nowhere, Somewhere.