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Digital Context

Anna Beirinckx

Anna Beirinckx is an Antwerp based graphic designer with a passion for 3D practicing in the areas of Branding, 3D Modeling & Visualizations, 3D Printing and Interaction Design. For any queries or if you would like to get in touch, please send an email to beirinckxanna@hotmail.com. Website in development, please contact me for full portfolio/CV.

/ ə ʊ m / ━ A Story About Light and Sound

What if light lost its way and ended up in darkness? This immersive experience plays with our expectation of light as a means of making things visible. Here, the opposite happens: you are the light and continuous exploration will lead you to unseen environments, new sights, sounds, things, thoughts...

This project outlines a research whose aim was to develop a design taxonomy for the creation of an immersive experience. Immersion is a state of mind that is often talked about and experienced but very elusive to design and implement. What aspects make an experience immersive? How can an understanding of these factors help designers in their process? One of the major contributing theories is the concept of immersion as flow. Flow embodies cognitive elements of involvement such as concentration on a task, completing a challenge, having control over the environment and so on. This cognitive flow is also integrated with affective components such as the loss of self consciousness and sense of 'oneness' with the environment.  To truly achieve flow, one must concentrate on the task to the point of being absorbed so that no outside stimulant can disturb the pleasure or enjoyment of it.

I started my process out of the frustration that people cannot experience my 3d renders the way I experience them during the design process. They cannot walk through the environment, or interact with the world. The first semester was a period of intense technical research, a search for the ideal software to work out that interaction - I experimented with Houdini, Blender, Marvelous Designer, Unity and Unreal Engine.

At the beginning of this year, the Digital Master organized a workshop 'Sensing & Desensitization' that really stayed with me - especially the visualization of things that are not immediately visible to the human eye, such as sound or light waves, certain colors and heat rays. The interest in perception and the workings of the human eye was therefore my main focus in the first part of my research.

After exploring the visual, I entered the world of interaction design - something that requires a fundamentally different work process than graphic work. While writing my thesis on 'narrative game mechanics', I learned a lot about how video games are constructed and how game mechanics in combination with other elements contribute to creating an engaging and interactive digital story.

During my research, I also came across Isamu Noguchi and his famous 'Playscapes' - a collection of designs for children's playgrounds. He saw playgrounds as a primer of forms and functions; simple, mysterious and evocative; and believed that children should experience the environment as man first experienced the earth, as a spectacular and complex place. His prototypes in concrete inspired me to make miniature 3d models in clay myself, something that has helped me enormously in designing my own digital 'playgrounds' - not playgrounds in the literal sense, but places for endless exploration.