'Immersive storytelling' can be literally translated as immersive, meaningful or compelling storytelling. The idea that VR technology (virtual reality) can lead to stories that are more immersive than all previous story technologies is not new. But in reality, VR applications in the past decades have been limited to lab environments and specialized industries. Since the launch of the Google Cardboard platform and the Oculus Rift headset by Facebook, VR applications now seem to be reaching consumers.
The possible breakthrough of 'immersive storytelling' for a large audience poses challenges for both makers/creaters and users. On the side of the creators, there is the impression that many showcases still rely on the grammar of older media (such as film or games) and that they only use the possibilities of this new technology as "gimmick". Storytellers must not only master the technical and production side of "immersive storytelling", but must also investigate how they can embed the new technical possibilities in new and old narrative techniques. As far as the user experience is concerned, we still have few methodologies to determine whether an immersive story is successful, what success means at all and in which the user experience could or should differ from user experiences with more traditional story forms.
The central research question of this project is: How can cultural institutions, civil society organizations or companies that (want to) use national and international virtual platforms intensify the user experience of their audience? To answer this question, a multidisciplinary collaboration is essential between the following internal partners: Graphic & Digital Media, Electronics-ICT, Journalism, the Royal Academy and the Royal Conservatory.
Silvia Van Aken