Collective reality was an immersive environment delivered through multichannel video and audio (9 channels of HD video, 16 audio channels), projection mapping and motion tracking intended to be experienced by large groups in real-time. It explored a mode of immersion in opposition to the solitary isolation and physical disconnection of most contemporary Virtual Reality experiences. This was achieved by using a large purpose-built physical environment, full-body interactive technology capable of interacting with many users at once, and a model of interactivity specifically designed to encourage group interaction: The environment only really came alive when users worked together. Individual interactions would only have a small effect, but if the group cooperated in purposeful movement between them, then interaction would become far deeper and more evident.

The work was commissioned by NESTA for their 2016 Futurefest event in London’s Tobacco Dock (with additional support from Panasonic, The Games Europe Plays, EUNIC, British Council and Stage Sound Services), to explore their two key themes – ‘Future Love’ and ‘Future Play’. It performed a central role in the event, running throughout its weekend duration. It was designed to allow many others involved in the event – everything from freestyle footballers and martial arts practitioners to dancers and burlesque artists – to work directly with the visiting public in a direct and playful way through timed 20-minute ‘interventions’.

Additional Notes

The project was a collaboration with Ghislaine Boddington (University of Greenwich) and Nick Rothwell (Ravensbourne University London), as long term members of the body>data>space collective. The project was led equally by the three collaborators, and Hyde contributed to the interactive programming and produced all audio for the project.

A new version of the work, reconfigured for a fulldome environment formed – alongside a keynote by Ghislaine Boddington – the centrepiece for Immersion Experience 2017 and its ‘Embodied Spaces’ theme, where it was presented for two days in the 4-storey Satosphere at Montréal’s Société des Artes Technologiques.