Thesia is a group project from the Master study terms 1 and 2. The project was rewarded with the 10. positioning at the Zukunftspreis Kommunikation 2013 as well as nominated for the BEN Award 2013. It was also presented at the Institute for new Media at Frankfurt.

Thesia puts recipients in the position to experience contents immersively, thus transposing provision of information into a sensual dive. Bathed in surreal and yet tangible surroundings recipients of Thesia explore our postmo­dern communication channels in real-time. However, recipients of Thesia are not only immersed sensually but contentwise. May it be twittering, posting, drawn corre­lations between certain pieces of information or even emotionalized misrepresentations of factual information - on the internet such fragments compose their very own unique non-linear story and Thesia brings these stories to life - in a literal sense: Swirling creatures reflect on highly dynamic contents in the WWW. Whether it is their size, their texture or even their smell - all their attributes derive from their equivalents on the internet. Since their membranes are permeable we have the ability to explore whole worlds of such stories multidimensional. Based on the idea of internet as an cross-cultural space which is material indeed one can even call Thesia an augmented reality hinting at conspicuous short cuts to points of inte­rest on the internet.

See our info video to get an impression of the installation. (Video is in German)

Installation Details

The Art of Thesia

The world Thesia is a product of our stories. It's an own, little universe, constructed out of human imaginations and description of the happenings in reality. The form is a conclusion about the vague ideas and the noise of pictures, texts and videos which exist in the internet. The universe of Thesia shows the incomplete worlds, which are growing with every content packages of stories. Every part of a story earns an own sphere, that's why they are shown as bubbles flowing in particles out of imagination. The Story universe arose, when human started to tell stories. Every word built a bubble and connected them to each other. Maybe it's something one would call mind cinema, because when somebody tells us stories, we automatically start to imagine, what's happening in this story string. This universe is addicted to humans and their ability to write and taking pictures. Also drawing is an important part for this world. Especially Thesia is a product of the wish to discover every content, which exists in our reality. The wish and dream to fly and dive at the same time and get information about happenings around the world. Also curiosity will be a necessary ability to visit this universe.

Source of our Stories: Storify

With Thesia we want to visualize internet stories and make these explorable. A big feature to get personality into the whole are the different opinions of social media users that are often collected in the Storify stories. These are transmitting authenticity better than every self-written texts could do it and they also make it more interesting to discover a story because you do not know what reaction may hide behind a social media element. They are the voices of the internet that might get lost if not expressed in some special way - one way would be at Storify. This site has a lot of stories that are mostly build up of multiple media types. The authors can not only write their own text, they can also easily include media like pictures, videos, articles (as linked pages) as well as social media postings from Twitter and Facebook which makes it easy to reflect the opinions of the population. And through Storify these elements get a new representation at Thesia where the users are really exploring them.

The Technology of Thesia

The installation is build up of different elements: Access to Thesia‘s virtual reality is granted by an Oculus Rift (developer version). The sound is passed to recipients by an average pair of stereo head­phones. People take place on a seat which is made of sta­pled newspapers kept together by two leather belts. The newspaper seat is mounted to a wooden pallet. A table made of two wooden cases of wine serves as a rack for the Logitech Extrem 3D Pro PC Joystick. The video-projec­tion is done by two short-distance beamer systems. Here a bit more information about the single elements of the installation:

Newspaper Chair: As a symbolical connection to the storytelling element of our project, we chose to create the seat of the installation by piling up newspapers. These are hold together by a self-made belt.

Oculus Rift: We are using the Oculus Rift display technology in its developer version to grant the user a three-dimensional visual experience. Through this technology it is possible for the user to look around in the world and it transmits the feeling as if the user would be inside the space.

Unity Development Kit: Unity is the heart of our whole system as it not only provides the visual world, it also controls all the tools connected to Thesia. Through additional (partly self-written) scripts all the technical elements are controlled and get the information to create the sense-overall experience.

Soundscape: The soundscape is transmitted by a pair of stereo headphones and tends to settle the user in a dreamlike world as well as to support the interaction with the elements in the world.

Navigation by Joystick: The navigation inside the world is controlled by a joystick. We chose this element because it is one of the most known navigation tools.

Scent Generator: The scent generator is used to address the smelling sense of the user. The scents are used as a kind of categorization attribute of the different story types and is set free whenever the user enters a story system. The generator was freely provided by the firm MagicBox, who we thank a lot for their help to realize this project.

Wind Generator: The wind generator is integrated by an Arduino system and is used to generate a little wind flow whenever the user is in motion inside the system.

Project Team

The team of Thesia consisted of 10 members with different expertices. We had people with a background in sound design, coding, 2D and 3D design as well as concepting and marketing. The team members were: Felica Handelmann (2D Art), Yannick Hofmann (Sound), Joris Klause (Concepting), J.Moritz Müller (Design & Concepting), Melanie Neumann (Concept, Art, Research), Timotheos Samartzidis (Technology, Coding), Sarah Schaack (Content, Research, 3D Design), Klaus Schüller (Sound), Dirk Siegmund (Technology) and Stephan Wirth (Technology, Coding).