Narrative Affordances of Scale in VR: Remediating Iranian Traditional Storytelling in VR
I started working on this research-creation project during the Master of Design program at Concordia University, Montréal. Having previous academic studies and professional practices in the field of architecture and then multimedia (3D animation in particular) led me into VR. This project has been an important step in making me better understand the specificities of this medium. It became a laboratory where I experimented with and reflected upon the challenges of bringing the linear storytelling conventions of cinema in a primarily spatial medium which also affords interactivity of a video game.
The research was conducted in two broad phases in response to two different objectives: Firstly, to investigate the unique perceptual cues of scale in VR and explore how they could be utilized to create medium-specific experiences. Secondly, to remediate a traditional screen-based form of storytelling in Iranian culture known as Pardeh-Khani through exploiting the notion of scale. Pardeh-Khani (literally translated as: reading off curtain/screen) is a type of Naqqāli, the oldest form of dramatic performance in the history of Iran which is now on the verge of extinction.
The full dissertation file is accessible from the following links:
This project was presented on Interstice, an online design research exhibition presenting Concordia University’s Master of Design student projects. Interstice was initially planned to be a public/physical event but had to be cancelled due to the Covid Pandemic. As part of the display strategy, I was exploring the creative ways I could communicate the process during the pre/post VR sections rather than only finalizing one polished VR experience.
Latest iteration of the VR experience will be available to download soon. Steam VR and a tethered HMD is required. This file was tested on Oculus Quest 2 via USB link cable.
This project won the Hexagram Student Members Grant in 2018 and the monetary award greatly advanced bringing a number of collaborators on board in a professional fashion. Design and implementation of the navigation mechanic was done in collaboration with Mahdi Sadri. 2D and 3D artworks were created by Maryam Tabatabaei.
Deepest gratitude to the members of Milieux Institute especially Marc Beaulieu, and members of Sensor Lab especially Elio Bidinost for the technical support and provided facilities. Heartfelt thanks to the members of Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG), especially Jonathan Lessard who supervised this research, also Pippin Barr, Rilla Khaled and Enric Llagostera for their constructive criticism and thought-provoking feedback along the way.
Thank you to Simin Farrokh Ahmadi for loving me and professionally supporting my projects.