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19 June
21 January 2023

Real Space-Virtual Space. Aesthetics, Architecture, And Immersive Environments

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https://an-icon.unimi.it/wp-content/uploads/Immagine-1.jpg
1 February 2023

At the roots of digital: in praise of a rhizomatic archaeology

Francesco Casetti
Sala Malliani
One of the issues that mostly challenge the iconic character of environmental images delivered by virtual, augmented, and mixed reality is characterized by multisensoriality. Indeed, the cultural tradition which conceives the image under the domain of vision is undermined by immersive media experiences that involve the entire sensorium, going so far as to embrace even senses traditionally considered inferior such as taste and smell (an example is Cosmos within Us, Tupac Martir 2019). Multisensoriality refers to the simultaneity with which different senses grasp everyday experience. In this direction, multisensoriality has been distinguished from intersensoriality, or “the interrelation and/or transumation of the senses, which may take many forms” (Ong, 1991), of which it constitutes only one of the possible declinations. Multisensory experiences are also related to the complex tradition of synaesthesia, a concept which emerged in the arts in the 19th century from the rediscovery of non-Western and pre-modern sensory cultures (Howes 2011; Marks, 2014). Indeed, the “sensory-specificity” that has imposed, since Aristotle, both the taxonomy of the five senses and the correspondence of sensory experiences with singular organic channels, is to be seen as historically and culturally determined and destined to be changed by the advent of new technologies and devices. The same number of the senses involved in perception has been constantly rethought (from a minimum of ten to a maximum of thirty-three), especially through the multiplication of experiences related to touch (temperature, pain, proprioception, balance) (Howes, 2009; Hemshaw, 2012). The cultural character of the senses is the focus of sensory studies, a set of anthropological and historiographical approaches aimed at interrogating the cultural character of the senses (Howes 2022). In this field, the perspective of sensory history appears to be prevalent, since this latter not only analyzes various historical events and contexts from the primary role that the senses play in them, but also considers the sensorium as the main vehicle for implementing strategies of reenactment and actualization of the past (Smith, 2015; Classen, 2014). These are extremely interesting approaches to understand nowadays codes and strategies by which an-icons, intended as immersive environments, propose multisensory, intersensory and synaesthetic experiences. Accordingly, this seminar intends to investigate the disposition of the sensorium in the new digital and immersive mediascape following the interdisciplinary intersection between three main approaches: 1) Aesthetics: an approach able to interrogate the historicity of aisthesis by taking into consideration both the advent of new wearable and prosthetic technologies of the sensorium and the confrontation with a theoretical debate that from Benjamin and MacLuhan reaches the most recent approaches of sensory studies, investigating the reciprocal relations by which the senses shape our experience 2) Media archaeology: an approach which aims at interrogating in an archaeological sense the history of multi- and intersensory media, especially in relation to sensory experiences different from the traditional audio-visual blend 3) Art and performance theory: an approach which considers how the contribution of new techniques and technologies in art and performance are reorganizing the sensory experience by questioning the meaning of our ideas of both body and image.
https://an-icon.unimi.it/wp-content/uploads/image.jpg
20 January 2023

Active Learning of Industrial Chemical Processes By Virtual Immersive Laboratory: The Eye4edu Project

Carlo Pirola
Aula V8
AN-ICON research project is devoted to the investigation of an-icons, namely those images which tend to negate their ontological nature, by phenomenologically presenting themselves as environments or as objects within the physical space. Advancement in theoretical and historical research has led us to a much better understanding of what environmental images are. However, do we know enough about what we can do with them? This series of seminars aims at exploring concrete applications of Extended Reality (XR) – namely Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed realities (VR, AR, MR) – within a wide range of professional fields and contexts. By doing so, it will contribute to the development of the project’s research axis dedicated to the “Practices” of environmental images. XR in its various form can be used by different actors, for different scopes, and addressing different audiences. It represents a very promising resource for many professionals, for education and training, not to mention commercial purposes or risk assessment and management. Just think about experimental psychology, where virtual environments enable researchers to conduct experiments with maximized control, reproducibility, and ecological validity, while allowing subjects to experience any kind of situation without potential physical risks (Pan and Hamilton 2018). With regard to psychiatry and psychotherapy, VR has become a widespread tool for the assessment and treatment of conditions like anxiety, schizophrenia, specific phobias, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (Freeman et al. 2017; Park et al. 2019). Medicine and surgery too can benefit from VR simulators and AR applications, both for general training and for surgical intervention, as well as for pre-planning and practice (Rehder et al. 2015). In this regard, the growing field of telemedicine offers great opportunities at the same time as it raises new ethical and legal challenges (Nittari et al. 2020). However, healthcare is far from being the unique area of application of immersive technologies. In education, XR offers the chance to experiment with normally inaccessible situations – such as exploring the solar system (Huang et al. 2019), molecular 3D structures (Jiménez 2019), or ancient Greece (Plecher et al. 2019) –, with attested improvements in learning and motivation (Freina, Ott 2015). XR has applications in museography and cultural heritage promotion too, where it allows new modalities of immersive and interactive exhibition and display. Moreover, the usage of XR technologies improves cognitive skills related to visual and spatial information (Jensen and Konradsen 2018). This latter aspect explains why these technologies have become popular in architecture and design (Kharvari and Kaiser 2022), with benefits for students as well as professionals. In the related fields of urban and landscape planning, XR is useful for visualizing and testing the effectiveness of expensive and invasive solutions before implementing them in the real space. XR for physical and motor training have appeared in sports (Düking et al. 2018), as in the case of cycling or virtual rowing systems (Neumann et al. 2018), but most significantly in the military field: driving, flight, and combat simulators have long been employed for fitness-for-duty evaluations and pre-battle training; the first adaptive virtual environments, responding specifically to subjects’ behaviour, are already in use (Edwards and Parsons 2017). In criminal justice as well, virtual reconstructions of crime scenes are starting to be employed as a new form of demonstrative evidence that calls for adequate criteria of admissibility. Risks of unfair prejudice have been connected to the sense of presence induced by XR because of their highly persuasive effects (Young 2014). Correctional rehabilitation (Ticknor 2018) and prison education (Zoukis 2016) are also to be recalled. Finally, XR are being purposely exploited in marketing, proving to be more effective persuasion channels than classical advertising media. The feeling of presence that they elicit in the consumers positively affects their emotions, thus triggering favourable purchase intentions (Grigorovici 2003; Górski et al. 2015; Jung, tom Dieck 2018). Despite such a wide range of experiences and uses, connections between academic research and professional application are still too weak nowadays. On the contrary, theoretical investigation would need to dialogue with practitioners and explore what it means to concretely use XR. The research project AN-ICON aims at reducing this gap, as one of its main objectives. This cycle of seminars is therefore intended as a fundamental footstep towards the enriching of the theoretical and historical perspectives of the project with a deep insight into practice. In order to explore as widely as possible XR uses, we have invited experts coming from heterogenous backgrounds (e. g. museums; education; surgery; vulcanology), to discuss together about both their potentialities and criticalities. We are especially interested in investigating certain issues, e.g. How does the design process take place with XR? Are there specific features of these technologies not to be found in other tools? Are they to be considered either in continuity or discontinuity as respect to other devices? Briefly: Why should we use them in so many fields and what are the outcomes of their spread? We will try to propose some possible answers to such questions by concretely experimenting with the XR instruments specialists use at work. Eventually, together with them, we will discuss about matters of functionality and economics constraints, as well as present and future trends which could help us to envision next evolutions in the field.
19 January 2023

Sensing Cinema Heritage. For a multisensory approach to film heritage

Andrea Mariani, Eleonora Roaro
Aula 435, Via Festa del Perdono
One of the issues that mostly challenge the iconic character of environmental images delivered by virtual, augmented, and mixed reality is characterized by multisensoriality. Indeed, the cultural tradition which conceives the image under the domain of vision is undermined by immersive media experiences that involve the entire sensorium, going so far as to embrace even senses traditionally considered inferior such as taste and smell (an example is Cosmos within Us, Tupac Martir 2019). Multisensoriality refers to the simultaneity with which different senses grasp everyday experience. In this direction, multisensoriality has been distinguished from intersensoriality, or “the interrelation and/or transumation of the senses, which may take many forms” (Ong, 1991), of which it constitutes only one of the possible declinations. Multisensory experiences are also related to the complex tradition of synaesthesia, a concept which emerged in the arts in the 19th century from the rediscovery of non-Western and pre-modern sensory cultures (Howes 2011; Marks, 2014). Indeed, the “sensory-specificity” that has imposed, since Aristotle, both the taxonomy of the five senses and the correspondence of sensory experiences with singular organic channels, is to be seen as historically and culturally determined and destined to be changed by the advent of new technologies and devices. The same number of the senses involved in perception has been constantly rethought (from a minimum of ten to a maximum of thirty-three), especially through the multiplication of experiences related to touch (temperature, pain, proprioception, balance) (Howes, 2009; Hemshaw, 2012). The cultural character of the senses is the focus of sensory studies, a set of anthropological and historiographical approaches aimed at interrogating the cultural character of the senses (Howes 2022). In this field, the perspective of sensory history appears to be prevalent, since this latter not only analyzes various historical events and contexts from the primary role that the senses play in them, but also considers the sensorium as the main vehicle for implementing strategies of reenactment and actualization of the past (Smith, 2015; Classen, 2014). These are extremely interesting approaches to understand nowadays codes and strategies by which an-icons, intended as immersive environments, propose multisensory, intersensory and synaesthetic experiences. Accordingly, this seminar intends to investigate the disposition of the sensorium in the new digital and immersive mediascape following the interdisciplinary intersection between three main approaches: 1) Aesthetics: an approach able to interrogate the historicity of aisthesis by taking into consideration both the advent of new wearable and prosthetic technologies of the sensorium and the confrontation with a theoretical debate that from Benjamin and MacLuhan reaches the most recent approaches of sensory studies, investigating the reciprocal relations by which the senses shape our experience 2) Media archaeology: an approach which aims at interrogating in an archaeological sense the history of multi- and intersensory media, especially in relation to sensory experiences different from the traditional audio-visual blend 3) Art and performance theory: an approach which considers how the contribution of new techniques and technologies in art and performance are reorganizing the sensory experience by questioning the meaning of our ideas of both body and image.
https://an-icon.unimi.it/wp-content/uploads/Sensing-cinema-odeon.jpg
10 January 2023

Archaeology of immersion

Barbara Le Maître, Natacha Pernac, Jennifer Verraes
One of the issues that mostly challenge the iconic character of environmental images delivered by virtual, augmented, and mixed reality is characterized by multisensoriality. Indeed, the cultural tradition which conceives the image under the domain of vision is undermined by immersive media experiences that involve the entire sensorium, going so far as to embrace even senses traditionally considered inferior such as taste and smell (an example is Cosmos within Us, Tupac Martir 2019). Multisensoriality refers to the simultaneity with which different senses grasp everyday experience. In this direction, multisensoriality has been distinguished from intersensoriality, or “the interrelation and/or transumation of the senses, which may take many forms” (Ong, 1991), of which it constitutes only one of the possible declinations. Multisensory experiences are also related to the complex tradition of synaesthesia, a concept which emerged in the arts in the 19th century from the rediscovery of non-Western and pre-modern sensory cultures (Howes 2011; Marks, 2014). Indeed, the “sensory-specificity” that has imposed, since Aristotle, both the taxonomy of the five senses and the correspondence of sensory experiences with singular organic channels, is to be seen as historically and culturally determined and destined to be changed by the advent of new technologies and devices. The same number of the senses involved in perception has been constantly rethought (from a minimum of ten to a maximum of thirty-three), especially through the multiplication of experiences related to touch (temperature, pain, proprioception, balance) (Howes, 2009; Hemshaw, 2012). The cultural character of the senses is the focus of sensory studies, a set of anthropological and historiographical approaches aimed at interrogating the cultural character of the senses (Howes 2022). In this field, the perspective of sensory history appears to be prevalent, since this latter not only analyzes various historical events and contexts from the primary role that the senses play in them, but also considers the sensorium as the main vehicle for implementing strategies of reenactment and actualization of the past (Smith, 2015; Classen, 2014). These are extremely interesting approaches to understand nowadays codes and strategies by which an-icons, intended as immersive environments, propose multisensory, intersensory and synaesthetic experiences. Accordingly, this seminar intends to investigate the disposition of the sensorium in the new digital and immersive mediascape following the interdisciplinary intersection between three main approaches: 1) Aesthetics: an approach able to interrogate the historicity of aisthesis by taking into consideration both the advent of new wearable and prosthetic technologies of the sensorium and the confrontation with a theoretical debate that from Benjamin and MacLuhan reaches the most recent approaches of sensory studies, investigating the reciprocal relations by which the senses shape our experience 2) Media archaeology: an approach which aims at interrogating in an archaeological sense the history of multi- and intersensory media, especially in relation to sensory experiences different from the traditional audio-visual blend 3) Art and performance theory: an approach which considers how the contribution of new techniques and technologies in art and performance are reorganizing the sensory experience by questioning the meaning of our ideas of both body and image.
https://an-icon.unimi.it/wp-content/uploads/Fig.6-copie.jpg
16 December 2022

What XR can do for a Museum

Luca Roncella
Sala Malliani
AN-ICON research project is devoted to the investigation of an-icons, namely those images which tend to negate their ontological nature, by phenomenologically presenting themselves as environments or as objects within the physical space. Advancement in theoretical and historical research has led us to a much better understanding of what environmental images are. However, do we know enough about what we can do with them? This series of seminars aims at exploring concrete applications of Extended Reality (XR) – namely Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed realities (VR, AR, MR) – within a wide range of professional fields and contexts. By doing so, it will contribute to the development of the project’s research axis dedicated to the “Practices” of environmental images. XR in its various form can be used by different actors, for different scopes, and addressing different audiences. It represents a very promising resource for many professionals, for education and training, not to mention commercial purposes or risk assessment and management. Just think about experimental psychology, where virtual environments enable researchers to conduct experiments with maximized control, reproducibility, and ecological validity, while allowing subjects to experience any kind of situation without potential physical risks (Pan and Hamilton 2018). With regard to psychiatry and psychotherapy, VR has become a widespread tool for the assessment and treatment of conditions like anxiety, schizophrenia, specific phobias, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (Freeman et al. 2017; Park et al. 2019). Medicine and surgery too can benefit from VR simulators and AR applications, both for general training and for surgical intervention, as well as for pre-planning and practice (Rehder et al. 2015). In this regard, the growing field of telemedicine offers great opportunities at the same time as it raises new ethical and legal challenges (Nittari et al. 2020). However, healthcare is far from being the unique area of application of immersive technologies. In education, XR offers the chance to experiment with normally inaccessible situations – such as exploring the solar system (Huang et al. 2019), molecular 3D structures (Jiménez 2019), or ancient Greece (Plecher et al. 2019) –, with attested improvements in learning and motivation (Freina, Ott 2015). XR has applications in museography and cultural heritage promotion too, where it allows new modalities of immersive and interactive exhibition and display. Moreover, the usage of XR technologies improves cognitive skills related to visual and spatial information (Jensen and Konradsen 2018). This latter aspect explains why these technologies have become popular in architecture and design (Kharvari and Kaiser 2022), with benefits for students as well as professionals. In the related fields of urban and landscape planning, XR is useful for visualizing and testing the effectiveness of expensive and invasive solutions before implementing them in the real space. XR for physical and motor training have appeared in sports (Düking et al. 2018), as in the case of cycling or virtual rowing systems (Neumann et al. 2018), but most significantly in the military field: driving, flight, and combat simulators have long been employed for fitness-for-duty evaluations and pre-battle training; the first adaptive virtual environments, responding specifically to subjects’ behaviour, are already in use (Edwards and Parsons 2017). In criminal justice as well, virtual reconstructions of crime scenes are starting to be employed as a new form of demonstrative evidence that calls for adequate criteria of admissibility. Risks of unfair prejudice have been connected to the sense of presence induced by XR because of their highly persuasive effects (Young 2014). Correctional rehabilitation (Ticknor 2018) and prison education (Zoukis 2016) are also to be recalled. Finally, XR are being purposely exploited in marketing, proving to be more effective persuasion channels than classical advertising media. The feeling of presence that they elicit in the consumers positively affects their emotions, thus triggering favourable purchase intentions (Grigorovici 2003; Górski et al. 2015; Jung, tom Dieck 2018). Despite such a wide range of experiences and uses, connections between academic research and professional application are still too weak nowadays. On the contrary, theoretical investigation would need to dialogue with practitioners and explore what it means to concretely use XR. The research project AN-ICON aims at reducing this gap, as one of its main objectives. This cycle of seminars is therefore intended as a fundamental footstep towards the enriching of the theoretical and historical perspectives of the project with a deep insight into practice. In order to explore as widely as possible XR uses, we have invited experts coming from heterogenous backgrounds (e. g. museums; education; surgery; vulcanology), to discuss together about both their potentialities and criticalities. We are especially interested in investigating certain issues, e.g. How does the design process take place with XR? Are there specific features of these technologies not to be found in other tools? Are they to be considered either in continuity or discontinuity as respect to other devices? Briefly: Why should we use them in so many fields and what are the outcomes of their spread? We will try to propose some possible answers to such questions by concretely experimenting with the XR instruments specialists use at work. Eventually, together with them, we will discuss about matters of functionality and economics constraints, as well as present and future trends which could help us to envision next evolutions in the field.
https://an-icon.unimi.it/wp-content/uploads/156854136_10159097620144292_8841544008138287618_n.png

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