Lithium Hindsight 360: A Prototype and Framework for Creating Movement-based Virtual Reality Pathographies about Bipolar Disorder

鋰之後見之明360: 動作為本的虛擬現實雙相情感障礙病理個案之開發原型及構架

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Awarding Institution
  • Bo ZHENG (Supervisor)
  • Jeffrey SHAW (Co-supervisor)
Award date18 May 2020


Narratives are one of the oldest forms of human communication. Exchanging stories of lived experiences can lead to compassion, tolerance, and understanding of differences between individuals. Unfortunately, not all perspectives are always welcomed. Sometimes the individual living the experience may feel or actually be silenced, shamed, stigmatised, or misunderstood. In some cases, words are insufficient for self-expression and anonymity is preferred.

One community that still struggles to be heard is that of individuals with mental disorders. Despite advances in medical science and technology, outdated perceptions of mental disorders persist. Even within the category of mental illness there is a spectrum ranging from disorders that are common but relatively straightforward to those which are more complex and not so prevalent. Bipolar disorder (BD) is one of the conditions that fall into the second category.

Lithium Hindsight 360 (LH 360) is a virtual reality (VR) prototype combining contemporary dance and somatic movement practices to portray the lived experience of a patient with BD. Its aim is to help other patients visualise how motion capture and VR technologies can help them communicate their individual experiences to non-patients. On the basis of this prototype, a conceptual framework and a set of guidelines were developed to support BD patients in creating their own VR movement-based illness narratives or pathographies. The planned result is a virtual community of contributed narratives, allowing patients and non-patients alike to learn from this collective knowledge.

My autoethnographical practice-based research uses reflective practice to examine the connection between my interdisciplinary choreographic practice and my lived experience with BD. The decision to use myself as my research subject stems from my belief that designers should be willing to use the tools that they create. With this research, my creative practice will expand to embodying the actions and values that I advocate for other patients.