Le Passage - Towards the Concept of a New Knowledge Instrument
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This dissertation is concerned with the analysis and development of the passage concept in immersive dome environments (IDE). The research follows an interdisciplinary approach that draws on practices of scientific and artistic visualisation in the process of knowledge production. The research methodology is informed by my working practice, developing experiences for spherical displays, first inside fulldome planetariums, and currently also inside further 360° media formats such as VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality), and MR (Mixed Reality). The methodology is further underpinned by a media archaeology and interrogated through an ethnographic process of expert conversations and interviews. The media archaeology part involves the investigation of historical epistemic concepts in science communication in the fields of geography and cosmology used in spherical environments from the 17th century to the present day. The evolvement of the creation process for spherical environments shows how our thinking, understanding, and acting with spatial knowledge have shifted.
The practical element involved is the construction process of passage corridors in science and art in order to generate new knowledge, which I define as passages. The passage concept is further enriched via the lenses of the art of understanding; the diagrammatic; and visuals as knowledge instruments. The main tool is the IDE, since it has the epistemic potential to create passages through time and scale. In this research the IDE is both an object of investigation, according to its historical classification and its immersive capabilities, and at the same time it is being analysed as an active instrument that produces knowledge and steers artistic language. It can be understood as a model, instrument, environment, and vehicle, being in a transitional state itself—from a historical planetarium environment to a new non-space, allowing for unique and engaging media art forms. In doing so, the IDE blends scientific frameworks with artistic processes, transforming the newest insights of immersive perception into a new state of the art. The IDE makes this evident through the method of passage and navigation. New future scenarios are presented whilst expanding the passage concept, which can aid our spatial localisation, orientation, and self-constitution, thus shifting our perspective from a sense of place to a sense of planet.