The Immersive History project has objectives which involve technology development and evaluation, Early Music performance, and audience experience.
- To develop, produce, and evaluate a working prototype application that recreates both the visuals and the acoustics of two historic performance spaces virtually and situates music performance within them
- To provide new perspectives on the relationship between space and place within the context of historic performance
- To provide new insights into the interpretation and performance of Early Music
- To provide new audiences with a richer and more nuanced experience of the Early Music repertoire
- To undertake qualitative and quantitative research, including interviews with performers and users, and usage analytics of the application that identifies the key psycho-physical cues that support and inhibit presence and immersion within the virtual space
- To understand the psycho-physical cues that promote the sense of presence and immersion within a shared simulated performance space and to explore how these cues may combine to create convincing spaces, and how we might measure their efficacy
- To instigate scholarly debate about the use of virtual spaces as an approach to the study of Early Music performance and interpretation
- To build capacity for future collaborations, bringing together cultural organisations (St Cecilia's Hall, Historic Scotland, the Binchois Consort, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra), small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and academics (the University of Edinburgh and Abertay University) to explore the broader issues and the possible implementation of these technologies for cultural and commercial uses
Questions with further investigation potential
By hosting the Binchois Consort's performance in virtual space, we will also have the opportunity to explore a number of questions relating to performance that have the potential to serve as the basis for a much deeper follow-on investigation:
- To what extent does performing in a virtual space impact upon performance practice?
- What are the challenges and opportunities involved in bringing together musicians and audiences who are geographically remote to a co-located virtual space?
- How might immersive media technologies change how we curate physical and digital performance spaces?
- How might they be used to develop existing audiences and reach new ones, particularly those who are hard-to-reach?
This final question is of direct commercial relevance, particularly to our partner organisation, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, who are committed to using technology as a tool to develop audiences and extend their existing outreach work, suggesting a possible avenue for commercialisation and further development. The RSNO have kindly agreed to assist us in working directly with their audiences for user testing.