The State of Darkness / A bio-sensor driven VR experience

This project is not currently active.

The State of Darkness, a bio-sensor driven VR installation originates from the “Enactive Avatar” research project. “Enactive Avatar” is a virtual character that has photographically accurate human appearance with realtime responsive facial expressions and behaviors, based on the original idea of Pia Tikka.

The 1st proof of concept of Enactive Avatar was created with Unity, supervised by Peter Hjorth, also known as VFX supervisor of Lars von Trier films. In 2017 Enactive Avatar was implemented in the VR film EgoCure (dir. Synes Elischka). The previous work has been supported by AVEK, SKR, YLE.

The next phase of the Enactive avatar research was to combine realistic avatar character with enactive facial expressions. The avatar was then embedded in a virtual environment. Using a biosensor as part of the installation allows the physiological reactions from the participant’s physical body to affect the dramaturgy of this VR experience in real-time, creating narrative loops between the participant, the virtual character and the virtual environment around them. These physiological reactions can’t be consciously controlled by the participant, which results in an interesting blend between active agency and spectatorship. driven by a bionsensor. The result was a bio-sensor driven VR installation “The State of Darkness” (completed in the fall 2018).

The work was conducted in Aalto’s Virtual Cinema Lab, in Pia Tikka’s Enactive Virtuality Lab in Tallinn University, and in different freelancer workspaces. The project is supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, Huhtamäki Fund and AVEK.

“The State of Darkness” VR installation has been shown at international events and art exhibitions, for example at ICIDS2018 and Praque Quadrennial 2019.

Arranged by:

VCL, Oblomovies Oy, Tallinn University, BFM


May 31st 2018

Contact Person:

Pia Tikka