Prof. Benjamin Seide
Benjamin Seide, educator, researcher and media artist, lives in Singapore and Berlin and researches in the field of animation and immersive media. In the 1990s, Seide shot his first interactive 360˚ film with a self-developed camera and in his work "Paramatrix" explored representations in virtual space. His work as a visual effects artist from the 2000s can be seen in Art House and Hollywood films, including Wim Wender's “Don't Come Knocking”, Roman Polanski's “Oliver Twist” and Martin Scorsese's “Hugo”. 2009 - 2013 Seide lived and worked in Shanghai and created the award-winning immersive experience of the General Motors World Expo pavilion. Currently his projects investigate artistic interpretation of cultural and film heritage in immersive media, including the full-dome installation "Homage á Fellini", the 360˚ film "Secret Detours" and the VR installation "Gone Garden", both interpretations of the Chinese "Yunnan" Heritage Garden in Singapore, and "The Spirit of Pontianak", a VR installation of the lost horror film "Pontianak" from 1958.
Be the centre of the universe – strategies and concepts to experience immersive media.
The 360° video »Secret Detours« served as an immediate approach to digitally preserve a Chinese garden in Singapore. Currently, my collaborators Benjamin Seide, Ross Wiliams and myself have developed a range of different versions in order to explore the screening possibilities and have adjusted both, the visual composition and the sound design accordingly.
»Secret Detours« was captured in a Chinese garden in Singapore, which opened in 1956 – quite old for the 53-year-old city-state. The garden is undergoing massive redevelopment, several old trees have been cut down, bridges and pavilions have been removed. Since it was important to act quickly, the garden was filmed as a spherical 360° video, not only for artistic but also for conservation purposes. Four dancers acted out a choreography by Susan Sentler to represent the cardinal directions of Chinese mythology, after which the garden was initially conceived. Although the visualisation gives an impression of being inside the garden, it is still a very static experience. Therefore we are currently working on a room scale model for VR that makes the garden accessible in virtual space, based on the floor plan and the photogrammetric recording of details.
Considering the respective iterations, the perception of the work and with it the experience differs hugely, depending on the particular presentation technique: whether the work is collectively viewed in a hemispherical dome, a cylindrical panorama, on a panoramic video wall, or with a range of different VR headsets.
As the technology of spherical recording and presentation is still very much in flux, due to the rapid developments and along with peculiar improvements by the industry. There are a number of aspects to further explore, in particular the connection of virtual representations in the real environment through mixed reality.