PhD research Joris Weijdom

Joris Weijdom studies the impact of collective embodied design techniques in mixed-reality that combines physical and virtual spaces, objects, and participants. He aims to develop new embodied design methods, collaborative mixed-reality environments, and pedagogies for art- and design students and professionals.
PhD research Joris Weijdom

The PhD research by Joris Weijdom studies the impact of collective embodied design techniques in collaborative mixed-reality environments (CMRE) in art- and engineering design practice and education. He aims to stimulate invention and innovation from an early stage of the collective design process.

Joris combines theory and practice from the performing arts, human-computer interaction, and engineering to develop CMRE configurations, strategies for its creative implementation, and an embodied immersive learning pedagogy for students and professionals.

This lecture was given at the Transmedia Arts seminar of the Mahindra Humanities Center of Harvard University. In this lecture, Joris Weijdom discusses critical concepts, such as embodiment, presence, and immersion, that concern mixed-reality design in the performing arts. He introduces examples from his practice and interdisciplinary projects of other artists.

About the research

Mixed-reality experiences merge real and virtual environments in which physical and digital spaces, objects, and actors co-exist and interact in real-time. Collaborative Mix-Reality Environments, or CMRE's, enable creative design- and learning processes through full-body interaction with spatial manifestations of mediated ideas and concepts, as live-puppeteered or automated real-time computer-generated content. It employs large-scale projection mapping techniques, motion-capture, augmented- and virtual reality technologies, and networked real-time 3D environments in various inter-connected configurations.

Multiple research areas now support the idea that embodiment is an underpinning of cognition, suggesting new discovery and learning approaches through full-body engagement with the virtual environment. Furthermore, improvisation and immediate reflection on the experience itself, common creative strategies in artist training and practice, are central when inventing something new. In this research, a new embodied design method, entitled Performative prototyping, has been developed to enable interdisciplinary collective design processes in CMRE’s and offers a vocabulary of multiple perspectives to reflect on its outcomes.

Studies also find that engineering education values creativity in design processes, but often disregards the potential of full-body improvisation in generating and refining ideas. Conversely, artists lack the technical know-how to utilize mixed-reality technologies in their design process. This know-how from multiple disciplines is thus combined and explored in this research, connecting concepts and discourse from human-computer interaction and media- and performance studies.

This research is a collaboration of the University of Twente, Utrecht University, and HKU University of the Arts Utrecht. This research is partly financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).
This keynote was given at the IETM Plenary meeting in Amsterdam for more than 500 theatre and performing arts professionals. It addresses the following questions in a roller coaster ride of thought-provoking ideas and examples from the world of technology, media, and theatre:
What do current developments like Mixed Reality, Transmedia, and The Internet of Things mean for telling stories and creating theatrical experiences? How do we design performances on multiple "stages" and relate to our audiences when they become co-creators?

About Joris Weijdom

Joris Weijdom is a researcher and designer of mixed reality (MR) experiences focusing on interdisciplinary creative processes, technology, and performativity. His expertise covers embodied design methodologies for collective creative processes in MR- environments and a techno-dramaturgical approach to MR-experience design for professional and educational settings.

Joris founded the Media and Performance Laboratory (MAPLAB), enabling practice-led artistic research on the intersection of performance, media, and technology from 2012 until 2015. He currently leads the Mixed-Reality research group at the Professorship Performative Processes and teaches several BA and MA courses at the HKU and University Twente. As part of his PhD project Joris researches creative processes in collaborative mixed reality environments (CMRE) in collaboration with University of Twente and Utrecht University.

Contact / LinkedIn profile
This research is part of the professorship Performative Processes

Publications (selection)

Performative prototyping in collaborative mixed reality environments: an embodied design method for ideation and development in virtual reality.
Collaborative Mixed Reality Environments (CMREs) enable designing Performative Mixed Reality Experiences (PMREs) to engage participants’ physical bodies, mixed reality environments, and technologies utilized. However, the physical body is rarely purposefully incorporated throughout such design processes, leaving designers seated behind their desks, relying on their previous know-how and assumptions. In contrast, embodied design techniques from HCI and performing arts afford direct corporeal feedback to verify and adapt experiential aesthetics within the design process. This paper proposes a performative prototyping method, which combines bodystorming methods with Wizard of Oz techniques with a puppeteering approach, using inside-out somaesthetic- and outside-in dramaturgical perspectives. In addition, it suggests an interdisciplinary vocabulary to share and evaluate PMRE experiences during and after its design collaboration. This method is exemplified and investigated by comparing two case studies of PMRE design projects in higher-art education using the existing Social VR platform NEOS VR adapted as a CMRE.

To be published in the Proceedings of the Sixteenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI ’22), February 13–16, 2022, Daejeon, Republic of Korea. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 13 pages.