Designing for alternate reality

OccultUs by Simon de Diesbach – Designing for alternate reality

Very interesting way to mix reality and virtuality
Reflexion on:
– reality and physical intervention are so powerful.
– how is it to be stuck between 2 worlds ?
– challenging perception



” Created by Simon de Diesbach at ECAL with the support from Alain Bellet, Gael Hugo, and Christophe Guignard, OccultUs is an installation that exploits the potential of the Oculus Rift technology by immersing the user into a sensory experience that mixes two distinct realities, physical and simulated.

The installation includes a collection of “abstract machines” designed to enhance the experience. What at first may seem like an uncomfortable scenario, user being seated in the centre of the unknown, the minimal virtual world takes over bringing the strange machinery to life, activated by the user’s gaze and creating a dynamic interplay between the virtual and the surrounding physical animations.

Users find themselves at the core of a hybrid space, where images and sound, though originating in heterogeneous realities, coincide. Stuck between two worlds, their perception is challenged. The OccultUs experience requests users’ participation in a double way: as the leading actor of the piece, but also as an integral part of it by becoming the object of other spectators’ attention.

Another interest element in the project is the physical abstraction of sound. Whilst there may have been more obvious choices behind how the sound is generated, their visual appearance if primarily driven by their function in virtual space. This raises many questions about how we may begin designing physical objects that complement and connect to our virtual experiences rather than the other way around. Traditionally we have sampled real life sounds to produce the digitally enhanced or manipulated. In this reverse scenario, we are using the real-world generated sounds to enhance the alternate reality.

OccultUs is a young project. The number of machines is limited for now. However, Simon’s objective is to increase their number and hence the diversity of sounds, in order to give a larger dimension to the experience. ”

From creativeapplications