Augmented Reality Lab + The Future Cinema Lab
Located within the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design at York University, the Future Cinema Lab (FCL) investigates how new digital storytelling techniques can critically transform a diverse array of state-of-the-art screens. The FCL is the first dedicated facility of its type in Canada, enabling researchers to design new forms of storytelling, develop prototypes for urban research, and create innovative, subversive projects within networked and hybrid media environments.
Meta 1 AR Headset
Meta 1 Pioneer Program -
Using Artwork From Wallace Edwards Artist Residency In the Augmented Reality Lab in the Future Cinema Lab @ York University
Journey By Boat
Experience a short boat trip through the surreal cartoon world of Governor-general Awardwinning Canadian artist Wallace Edwards. Created from hundreds of original analogue illustrations. Journey by Boat propels you through crystal caves and past flying, vacant-eyed frogs on the back of a tattooed whale.
Visual Art & Design: Wallace Edwards Music: Wallace Edwards
Residency supervisor: Caitlin Fisher
Unity: Andrew Roth, Laura Zeno, Tristan Prescott, Rohan Likehite, Ursula Sarrachini, Andrew Lau and Dale Rosen
With the support of the Canada Council for the Arts
Cardamom of the Dead
Cardamom of the Dead is one of the first lyric literary works for Oculus Rift. Everyone at this Party is Dead is a complete but expanding work (Cardamom of the Dead is the larger suite of stories) that at this point contains about 30 small narrative worlds explored in a sandbox. You enter the piece standing at the edge of an island and in the middle of a soundscape of a party taking place, with guests being named: these were the guests of my 21st birthday and they are now all dead. What follows is a fictionalized narrative, at times semi-autobiographical, at other times entirely made-up. You are urged to explore houses and stones and artifacts spread across the terrain of the island at skewed scales - like a dreamscape. addressable objects are signalled by tear-shaped signposting and will propel you into a different environments in order to access and bring to light three longer narratives of the dead woven through the work: 1) a story of a sudden illness and a meditation on euthanasia and family stories on this theme; 2) a coming-of-age story of sex relating to a murder; and 3) a meta-theme of collecting - objects, memories, digital artefacts - as a counseling practice.
This piece was premiered at ELO in Milwaukee, 2014.
Sheila Carfinder', Doctor Mask, & President Akimbo
Sheila Carfenders, Doctor Mask, & President Akimbo
VR novel for Oculus Rift
Built at the Augmented Reality Lab at York University under the direction of Caitlin Fisher
Sheila Carfenders, Doctor Mask & President Akimbo is a novel translated into virtual reality (for Oculus Rift) – a political fable of robots, sex work, hallucinogens and the consequences of power. The viewer is transported through mental hospitals, taxis, hotels and palaces mostly on rails, but with some space to explore the scenes in sandbox mode, enabling an encounter with hundreds of archival photographs and pencil sketches and found audio from across asia. The narrative – disturbing and comical and haunting and revelatory – is encountered through the spoken word of a single narrator.
Experience the troubling, bizarre and absurd life of Sheila Carfenders, a 22-year-old mental patient who is abducted by her abusive San Francisco psychiatrist, Doctor Mask. With the Oculus Virtual Reality system, go with Doctor Mask as he takes Sheila to an impoverished Asian country decaying from a violent insurgency. The Mask hopes to build his own experimental psychiatric institution after making deals with the corrupt regime’s delirious leader, President Akimbo.
Sheila’s fate? Unexpected amid a coup.
The characters’ three-dimensional models are built on structural skeletons, and the game environment is undermined and rendered uncanny through the use of hundreds of documentary photographs from Ehrlich’s personal archives.
With Oculus, you can explore the labyrinth of Sheila’s struggle and innocence, her psychiatrist’s brutal behavioral techniques, and the realpolitick of an American-backed coup against a deranged dictator. All of the people — including Sheila Carfenders, Doctor Mask, President Akimbo and the story’s other characters — are derived from interviews, events, documents and composites of real individuals. With Oculus Rift, you can explore the labyrinth of Sheila’s struggle and innocence, her psychiatrist’s brutal behavioral techniques, and the realpolitick of an American-backed coup against a deranged dictator.
Bio: Richard S. Ehrlich is an American foreign correspondent in Asia where he has been based since 1978 reporting from Hong Kong, New Delhi, and now Bangkok, Thailand. His coverage focuses on wars, rituals, revolutions, cultures, coups, religions and other news. He is also co-author of a nonfiction book of investigative journalism, titled: “Hello My Big Big Honey!” Love Letters to Bangkok Bar Girls and Their Revealing Interviews.
Augmented Reality Lab
Directed by film Professor Caitlin Fisher, Canada Research Chair in Digital Culture, York’s Augmented Reality Lab is at the forefront in working with both established and emerging technologies. As part of the Future Cinema Lab, it is dedicated to producing innovative research methods, interfaces and content that challenge cinematic and literary conventions and aim to enhance how people interact with their physical environment and with each other.
Situated in the department of Film, the Augmented Reality Lab offers artists and designers the opportunity to explore new screen technologies, approaches and techniques through production and theoretical study of this emerging medium. The lab offers some of the most advanced technology available to practitioners in a fine arts context.
Under the direction of film Professor Caitlin Fisher, Canada Research Chair in Digital Culture, the AR Lab at York University is at the forefront in working with both established and emerging technologies to produce innovative research methods, interfaces and content that challenge cinematic and literary conventions and aim to enhance the ways in which people interact with their physical environment and with each other.
Lab participants work interactively and across disciplinary boundaries, particularly film and computer science.
The Future Cinema Lab
The FCL is designed as a joint research project between Professors John Greyson, Caitlin Fisher and Janine Marchessault, bringing together their unique and complimentary practices as researchers, artists, and filmmakers within a spectrum of new media practices. In 2009 Professors Ali Kazimi and Don Sinclair joined the lab as collaborators. The collaborative research program exemplifies the interdisciplinary approach which is a hallmark of York University. It is highly interdisciplinary in its content and perspectives, as it focuses on new media, technology studies, literary and cultural studies, and the fine arts. In the face of an overwhelmingly powerful entertainment industry that monopolizes the world’s screens and future cinemas, it is urgent that we create research spaces where storytelling can be re-invented for our digital age, outside the pressures of the ad-saturated, profit-driven marketplace.
The FCL consists of $1 million worth of facilities and equipment located at York University’s Keele Campus. Facilities include a multimedia lab for augmented reality and mobile media production, a computer lab for digital video editing, a 24-track audio mixing suite, and a seminar room. Our technologies include:
Fogscreen – produces a thin curtain of fog that serves as a translucent projection screen
Sony and Panasonic HD cameras
Intersense motion tracking system
NVIS nVisor ST – see-through head-mounted display
Ladybug2 – 360° digital video camera
Bumblebee2 – stereo vision camera
Mobile digital projectors
The Future Cinema Lab is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Canada Research Chairs, York Research, Ontario Innovation Trust, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Intersense (IS 900) Motion Tracking System (6 DOF).
NVIS nVisor ST – Optical See-through head-mounted display.
Custom Optical Marker Tracking software developed in collaboration with Dr. Mark Fiala
BA (Toronto), MA (Carleton), PhD (York)
Canada Research Chair in Digital Culture
Associate Professor, Department of Film, York University
Caitlin Fisher is a theorist, creative writer and web artist with broad interdisciplinary interests. Her research and teaching focus on the social and cultural aspects of communication technologies, hypermedia fiction, feminist theory and augmented reality. She completed York’s first hypertextual dissertation in 2000 and her hypermedia novella, These Waves of Girls, an exploration of memory, girlhood, cruelty, childhood play and sexuality, won the Electronic Literature Organization’s 2001 Award for Fiction. In 2008, she won the International Digital Literature Award Ciutat de Vinaròs Prize in Poetry for her augmented reality journey poem, Andromeda.
Dr. Fisher was awarded a prestigious Canada Research Chair in digital culture in 2004. She directs the Augmented Reality Lab in the Faculty of Fine Arts at York, where she is working to construct and theorize spatial narrative environments that combine the physical world with digital traces and artifacts. She is also co-founder of York’s Future Cinema Lab.. Professor Fisher has taught at York University’s School of Women’s Studies at York and the Institute of Women’s Studies at Carleton University. She received a University-Wide Teaching Award at York in 1999.