CURVED: Literature for Bilingual Immersive Multi-screen Environments

Project: Research

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Images now dominate display environments. IMAX and 3D cinemas do not display extended literary works on big screens. In films, language is limited to subtitles and credits. In advertisements, words operate as logos and slogans. The CURVED project intends to fill this cultural gap by extending the extensive research that has already occurred in the field of digital literature and rectilinear CAVE immersion into a curved 360-degree reading environment. At the same time, readers are not solely native English-speakers. Often there are audiences whose capacity with language is sufficient up to a point. After that they require translations. In short, international audiences are often bilingual, they benefit from explicative text in their native tongue. On the 8th floor of the Creative Media Centre at City University, there is a 360-degree cinema (developed by Jeffrey Shaw) that uses five 3D (stereoscopic) HD projectors and surround sound to create an interactive immersive environment inside a 10 metre diameter cylinder screen that is approximately twice the height of a human figure. It is not a book, not a codex, not a scroll, and not a CAVE; but its display system possesses an unprecedented capacity to allow writers new modes of expressions, and readers interactive access to words. The current study proposes to explore the affordances of curved interactive 3D spaces as sites for creative writing and reading in a bilingual culture. In order to do so, research will be undertaken to find the pre-eminent experimental visual poets working in Chinese. In parallel, software modules will be developed to facilitate the deployment of literature in the immersive cinema. And finally, guest writer(s) will be invited to create work specific to this viewing environment. At a methodological level, CURVED is art-research that requires software development; the goal is to create bilingual language-art works specifically for 360-degree immersive screens. The research asks: how does 360-degree immersion change the semiotics of writing: syntax, line, narrative, metaphor, prosody or breath? Pragmatically, is there a layout/design system appropriate to this new media form (when the page is replaced by a wraparound screen)? And technically, what rendering pipeline will allow easy and quick animation of literature in this immersive new media 360° format? Additionally, the project will consider the social aspect of collective reading in the context of bilingualism: what methodology will allow a bilingual Chinese-English population (as there is in Hong Kong) to simultaneously experience literature and language-based works within this newmedia immersive environment? The end results of the research will be displayed as bilingual (Chinese-English) language-art works designed specifically for the 360 Gallery in Hong Kong, archived as an open web archive of the research process (including creative writing excerpts, videos of pipeline tests, and open-source code repositories), published as journal articles, presented at conference presentations, and performed as an interactive bilingual spoken-word event.


Project number9048020
Grant typeECS
Effective start/end date1/01/1523/12/16

    Research areas

  • digital poetry,immersive environments,new media literature,typography,