The Mechanics of Immersion is a collaborative studio between the Bachelor of Design (Digital Media) and the Bachelor of Communication (Media) at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. This blog is partly operational, partly demonstrative, and partly a showcase of exemplary work.
From art and cultural installations, through extra-cinematic experiments, virtual and augmented realities, experience design for marketing and therapeutic purposes … perhaps appropriately, we are currently immersed in immersion. It’s not just for art, commerce, and therapy, though. In the digital age, we are presented with audio pieces and visual works that explode our standard ‘modes’ of communication, i.e. sound and vision. Who hasn’t been engrossed in a story or science podcast, or a particularly well-produced album; or lost in a strange and ethereal film world, be it a fantasy land or a dreamily-rendered cityscape?
In The Mechanics of Immersion, we want your help to define what immersion is, and to figure out how we can use sound, vision, and other media modes to create experiences that envelop and enthrall our audience. You’ll be working with students from the Bachelor of Design (Digital Media) and the Bachelor of Communication (Media), analysing, auditing, and creating immersive audiovisual works. Guests include experts in sound design and virtual reality, and field trips will take in new and old approaches to immersion. Each week, this studio comprises one three-hour THINKING session, where ideas are presented, dissected, and debated; and one three-hour MAKING session, where those ideas are put to the test in practical experiments. Choose this studio if you want to collaborate with another discipline to explore the connection between sound and vision, and test how these two modes can work together (and in concert with others) to create all-encompassing media moments.
Your Studio Facilitators
Dr Darrin Verhagen teaches into the Sound Design specialisation in the Digital Media Program. His work in the AkE Lab uses sound, motion simulators, 4D cinema seating, light and VR to create and audit works that explore the relationship between hearing, vision, movement and vibration. Darrin’s research has focused on musical extremes – the delicate instability of lowercase sound for his Masters, and the brutality of Noise for his Doctorate. His soundtrack practice features music and sound designs for contemporary dance, theatre, installation, film, television and computer games. He has released over 20 albums of material internationally, traversing a range of styles, and performs his audiovisual live shows locally and internationally. He was the founder and curator of Dorobo records, which showcased Australian sound art for 15 years.
Dr. Daniel Binns is a writer, producer, and researcher at RMIT University, Melbourne. Dan researches and writes about all kinds of films from all kinds of times and places, with a focus on genre cinema and storytelling across platforms both digital and meatspace. He is the author of The Hollywood War Film: Critical Observations from World War I to Iraq (Intellect, 2017). Continuing research interrogates the cinematic object in the digital age. Dan has produced content for Fox Sports, National Geographic, and the Seven Network; notable productions include The Aussie Who Baffled the World (2012) and The Code (2011-2015). Dan’s filmmaking continues with a number of short dramatic works and experimental video practice.