VRtefacts: Performative Substitutional Reality with Museum Objects

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PubDate: July 2020

Teams: University of Nottingham;Shanghai Jiaotong Universi

Writers: Jocelyn Spence;Dimitrios Paris Darzentas;Yitong Huang;Harriet R. Cameron;Eleanor Beestin;Steve Benford

PDF: VRtefacts: Performative Substitutional Reality with Museum Objects


We explore how a combination of manipulations and transitions can extend Substitutional Reality to create a highly personal Virtual Reality experience. Our design aimed to meet two challenges faced by museums: the limitations of object handling and the desire for visitors to create their own interpretations. Using a Research-through-Design methodology, we built a performance-led Mixed Reality (MR) experience that lets museum visitors physically handle 3D prints or scans of museum objects to share personal stories about them. The stories are recorded and donated to the participating museum. We reflect on the complex design and the findings gained from a two-day in-the-wild deployment to explore engagement and disruption through manipulations of physicality, visuals, and scale; the transitions between spaces; and a trajectory of storytelling performance. We chart a wide scope for Performative Substitutional Reality and draw implications for VR, MR, and performance-led research in any context.

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