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Heart of the City: where VR meets the past

”Heart of the City” is an interactive installation using the latest audio and visual technologies, created by Robokoba.

Its creator tells us how virtual reality was used to create a panoramic image and spherical sound, which allows us to “venture” into the city and explore its history and identity.

Tactile recognition of architectural shapes enables a digital reproduction of audio memory-motifs. The installation adds emotions to the urban space, as it refers to the city’s state and the construction of the New Centre of Łódź in Poland.

Interaction takes place under a dome through touch-sensitive Electric Paint lines inside a hole. Lines of conductive paint were painted on a transparent form to reproduce various auditory stories about the past of the Lodz-Fabryczna station.

The Bare Conductive Touch Board was placed inside one of the 3D-printed models of the New Railway Station Lodz Fabryczna and connected to the lines. Every line is a different story.

That installation can work wirelessly and be powered by batteries. In addition, Electric Paint is connected directly to bluetooth headphones, which with Oculus Gear VR enhances the feeling of immersion, disconnects the audience from the real world and give them the ability to explore the past.

Using modern technology and science, the designer’s aim was to create structures that relate to the very beginning of mankind – man as a centre of cognition based on sensory and emotional experiences.

Through a transformation of the real world into the cybernetic one, Robokoba set up a system of interdependence between time, space and movement. She used different life experiences to create a subjective sense of presence. This allowed her to create a concept of reality that borders between the two phenomenas – the real world and the perception of it.

In this work the making process is crucial. The object determines the content and emotional/sensory response. The style of her research aims to create a vision of the past placed in the future of virtual reality.

The observations of users’ experiences have verified a model and narrative within this interactive installation, through the innovative forms of liminal media.

The stories of residents or visitors about the “place / non-place” spreading in the realm of virtual reality give it an emotional character.

Robokoba tells us that the interdisciplinary nature of her work focuses on the importance of research, therefore it creates graphical and software solutions. The cooperation between the virtual interface and the users creates a system that can be an alternative to currently used audio and visual guides.

Images & Video: Robokoba

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