Star Stuff, John Desnoyers-Stewart

Graduate, Installations, Exhibitions

SIAT graduate students create immersive experiences for digital art exhibition

September 24, 2021

Three immersive experiences created by SIAT graduate students will be displayed at V-Unframed, an immersive digital art exhibition hosted by the Alliance Française at the Centre for Digital Media.

V-Unframed will showcase artworks from local and international artists through an in-person and online exhibition taking place from October 1-3, 2021.

The immersive experiences that will be displayed include three by SIAT researchers from the SFU iSpace Lab: Star Stuff, created by graduate student John Desnoyers-Stewart; Transcendental Flying Dream, created by graduate students Pinyao Liu, Katerina Stepanova, post-doctoral researcher Alex Kitson, and professor Bernhard Riecke; and SIRIUS, created by graduate students Noah Miller, John Desnoyers-Stewart, Katerina Stepanova, Ashu Adhikari, Denise Quesnel, post-doctoral researcher Alex Kitson, and professors Bernhard Riecke and Patrick Pennefather.

Star Stuff | John Desnoyers-Stewart

Two player nebula, Star Stuff

As Carl Sagan famously said, “We are all made of star-stuff.”

This VR experience was created to remind us of a fundamental connection to humanity and the universe. Floating in space, your hands are traced as a myriad of constellations while stars emanate from and orbit your body. Moving and playing with the stars, you form a galaxy unique to you and your movements.

At the in-person exhibit, the experience becomes a multi-user one where others appear to you as another set of constellations. The gravitational effects of your bodies draw your stars towards each other, forming a new collaborative and dynamic sculpture in the night sky.

Transcendental Flying Dream | Pinyao Liu, Katerina Stepanova, Alex Kitson, Bernhard Riecke

Screen grab from Virtual Transcendent Dream - Experience Demo

Flying dreams have the potential to evoke a feeling of empowerment and self-transcendent emotions (STEs). However, these exceptional dreaming experiences remain infrequent. Since virtual reality (VR) also has the potential to support profound emotional experiences, researchers on this project are interested in investigating if a dream-inspired VR flying experience could make the benefits of a flying dream more accessible.

Furthermore, since dream-flying is glob­ally sim­i­lar to the waking-state phe­nom­e­non of vec­tion (illu­sion of self-motion), the researchers are inter­ested in inves­ti­gat­ing if a more embod­ied VR flying inter­face that pro­vides more embod­ied self-motion cues could lead to stronger emo­tions of empow­er­ment and STEs.

SIRIUS | Noah Miller, John Desnoyers-Stewart, Katerina Stepanova, Ashu Adhikari, Bernhard Riecke, Patrick Pennefather, Alex Kitson, Denise Quesnel

An experience developed as an isolation countermeasure for the SIRIUS isolation study which aims to find ways to mitigate the psychological effects of isolation.

This research project is run in collaboration with the ESA, NASA, UAE Space Agency, Germany’s DLR, and the Moscow Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP) involving experiments from teams from all around the world.

A small crew will spend 8 months in isolation, simulating the experience of being on Mars. During that time they will use a VR experience developed in SFU's iSpace Lab to reflect on their connection to earth and humanity as well as the importance of their own mission as a way to feel less isolated.

At the V-Unframed exhibition, immersants will get the chance to try out a short (5-minute) or full (20-minute) version of the experience, beginning on earth and being taken for a stimulating yet relaxing journey into space.

Find out more about the immersive art experiences and get your tickets to the in-person art exhibition or access the virtual exhibit at V-Unframed.