​Expanded Cinema


Emotional data is supposed to be personal privacy now.

Project “UnDIRECTED?” reconsiders the relationship between humans and virtual structures, researching the audience responses to a non-linear narrative with virtual reality, biometric recognition and gesture recognition. As a result, the awareness of protecting personal emotional data needs to rise.

Inevitably, we will immerse into a virtual world with all sensories and biometric recognition. In 2021, international companies such as Meta, HTC, Samsung and Steam claimed to invest their resources to develop Metaverse, a hypothesized iteration of the internet and an online virtual environment mainly for virtual reality devices. Furthermore, HP released an enterprise virtual reality device with biometrics interaction, including facial expressions and heart rate. Henceforth, expanded cinema is about to become a part of our daily experience, rather than only shown in cinema, Expo67 or museums.

“UnDIRECTED?” extended the previous project “Life”, an expanded cinema with Electrocardiogram(ECG). The previous research primarily focused on finding an obvious distinction between Video Games and Interactive Cinema. Additionally, throughout the history of Interactive Cinema, Lazarus argues those techniques overly require intensive body movement from the audience. Also, the previous investigation raises new questions for this research, such as how to increase the narrative’s diversities and utilize them for generating a more personal experience. Besides, is there any behavioural pattern that could be discovered?

Lazarus admitted that “UnDIRECTED?” was an unsuccessful and incomplete research. Here are the reasons. First, he underestimated the workload of building a virtual environment and the demand to develop custom hardware for ECG detection, causing a confusing working schedule and an uncomfortable experience for participants. Second, lack of available creative tools for non-linear story scripting. For example, an online diagram software or flowchart maker cannot satisfy the needs of scripting with conditional variables in a non-binary structure. This situation increases the difficulties of building complex storylines. Third, only two participants have finished the program test and been interviewed. Therefore, Lazarus could not review and give an accurate result for the research objectives, more tests should be done after the software’s and hardware’s refinement.

Regardless of the research’s success, it exposed that creative scripting software needs to be developed within these few years. Also, with the ascending attention of virtual reality and Metaverse, emotional interaction will become accessible soon. An education on protecting emotional data is crucial to the public. They must be aware their biometric recognition is a part of their privacy. It will be best if we can assemble a supervisory organization from the public about these subjects.

“UnDIRECTED?” was awarded the “WMA Photography Award” from WMA Hong Kong.