Dynamic Illusion: Designing Unpredictable Interactive Experiences

Ting Zhi, MFA ’07

thesis abstract

default headshot

Name: Ting Zhi, MFA ’07

My thesis investigates the vocabulary and role of dynamic illusion in the interactive environment. I am particularly interested in utilizing visual illusion to create an immersive, exploratory, unpredictable, poetic, and meaningful experience that activates both physical and mental participation by an audience.

Visual illusion is an indispensable communication approach that has been broadly exploited in traditional art and design for centuries. It surprises viewers, leads them to stop, stare, explore, rethink and revalue beliefs by engaging their mind.

However, traditional media, largely a broadcast paradigm, limits the potential for illusion. New media, due to its dynamic and interactive natures, brings infinitepossibilities to employ illusion as a compelling communication strategy. By incorporating visual illusion in the digital environment, a designer can arouse audience’s curiosity, inspire their imagination, evoke their emotion, guide their thinking, enhance their experience, and reinforce their memory by encouraging multi-sensor engagement.

My thesis examines the potential of illusion in new media through extensive research and two major projects: “Live Painting – Bamboo Garden” and “On Your Way – Blowing Away the Myth of Illusion”. In “Live Painting – Bamboo Garden”, I explore interactive behavior as a metaphor for the way we look at things and challenge traditional art forms by creating immersive three-dimensional illusive experience. In “On Your Way – Blowing Away the Myth of Illusion” case study, I create a poetic interactive environment that allows an audience to break illusion and discover truth by literally blowing away metaphorical obstacles.