Light, Place and Presence


Michaela French (Royal College of Art, UK) :


The durational observation of light as practice in the natural world affords a sense of place by situating the observer in a conscious interaction with their environment. The quality, quantity and changes in light define the experience of a place and, at the same time, connect the embodied observer to a sense of the infinite as the perceived boundaries between the terrestrial and celestial are dissolved through the act of looking.

Mirroring this relationship, the technologically mediated environment of fulldome space also situates the viewer at the centre of an immersive field of light. In observing the spherical image field of the dome the viewer’s body becomes the frame of reference, establishing a direct visceral sensory experience with the fulldome content.

Fulldome space has the capacity to be profoundly moving, its origins in planetaria ensure a cosmological foundation, its egocentric spatial interactions and its lucency enable heightened sensory perception, which can, in turn, lead to states of presence. The experience of presence opens the viewer to expanded perspectives, enabling the technologically mediated fulldome space to illuminate and amplify the interrelation with the natural world.

Drawing on examples of recent practice-based research, this paper discusses how the quality, movement, communicative capacity, and infinite experience of light can be mediated to elucidate a broader language in fulldome space. It considers how an expanding fulldome language can augment the connection between the viewer and the natural world, to enhance public engagement, to motivate change, to empower, and to inspire action.


light, presence, fulldome, embodiment, perception, language


Balance-Unbalance 2017

Balance-Unbalance (BunB)
is an International Conference designed to use art as a catalyst to explore intersections between NATURE, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY and SOCIETY as we move into an era of both unprecedented ecological threats and transdisciplinary possibilities.

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