Call: Zip-Scene Conference – Analogue and Digital Immersive Environments

Call for Papers

Zip-Scene Conference – Analogue and Digital Immersive Environments
Perspectives on Digital Interactivity and Narrative in Performing Arts and VR
Venue: Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest, Hungary
Dates: 8-10 November, 2018

Extended deadline for abstracts/bios: June 25, 2018

TOPIC: Game mechanics and other engaging interactive design strategies to raise the level of interactivity in immersive performance art and VR productions


Digital Interactivity provides novel opportunities for narratives in performance art and VR productions. This means emerging artistic practices, opportunities for critical reflection, and a reconsideration of the roles of the author and the audiences as participants.

One aim of the conference is to investigate whether the format of VR will acquire a status comparable to film, performing arts and video games in the near future. We are planning to explore what kind of storytelling strategies and simulative spaces can be used in such immersive productions, and how much the audience will be able to and would want to engage with control over the narrative path.

Another aim of the conference is to explore how play and game can be interpreted as different types of performances within the genre of mixed-reality theatre and immersive theatre. In both cases, it is also important to focus more closely on how this immersive medium can handle the first person “audience” while co-creating the story with them, and how is this influencing the narrative mechanics.

We are also expecting papers that question the “empathy machine” myth that is mainly related to VR technologies, but which also haunts mixed reality productions. Focusing more on the different tactics and strategies to achieve empathy mechanics is important in order to point out whether the recipient empathizes with the creator of the work, rather than the subjects of the creation, as Fisher states[1] . But it is worth to challenge these strategies by more thoroughly analyzing how to create the sensation of reality and presence in order to engage the users or what kind of mechanics of persuasive game design are these productions using.

Immersion is one of the keywords used in defining new artistic and work environments, which refers to a feature of such environments that can enhance audiences’ perception of being transported somewhere „else”. Transdisciplinary creators are experimenting and making use of playfulness in their works by adapting video game mechanics and narrative design strategies, in order to create fully immersive environments. These environments can be analyzed on several levels: their overall aesthetics, their authorial affordances, from a design perspective, and as a consideration of the audience’s experience, especially, their engaging and empowering mechanisms and last but not least, as interactive narratives. Some possible perspectives (additional ones welcome) include Murray’s affordances and aesthetic qualities of the digital medium[2] , Bogost’s procedural rhetoric[3] , Kwastek’s “aesthetics of interactivity”[4], multi-sensorial experience atmospheres (based on Gernot Böhme’s concept[5]), the trajectories offered by them (based on Benford-Giannachi’s concept[6]) or as interactive narrative systems (Koenitz, 2015)[7].

It is important and challenging to compare the design strategies of site-specific live arts productions with those of VR works, which also create the experience of full immersivity and presence for their users-turned-participants. For interactive VR-experiences, Jesse Damiani’s taxonomy[8] can serve as a possible interpretation strategy that also applies to forms such augmented reality, virtual reality, and  mixed reality.

We are looking forward to receive papers that deal with hermeneutical and phenomenological research as well as pilot studies.


  • Interactive storytelling methods
  • Interactive videos
  • Video games
  • Location-based technology (with augmented reality)
  • Virtual reality experiences&movies
  • Augmented reality in interactive storytelling
  • Games-based performing arts practices using new technology tools
  • Interactive Museum
  • Immersive environments (media archeology and phenomenological approach)

Proposals may be for a paper or a panel and should be related to at least one of the conference themes. Deadline for submitting the proposals is June 25, 2018.


  1. Project demo (concrete near to finished original works, with external links)
  2. Research paper (reflecting on an empirical study related to conference themes)
  3. Theoretical overviews

Please use keywords when submitting your proposal.


We are addressing this conference to scientific researchers, game professionals, programmers, artists, scholars and professionals from the field of performing arts, game studies, interactive storytellers, experience designers, VR-professionals and philosophers who are dealing or researching this area. The aims and the benefits of the conference is to bring together emerging professionals and creators of these fields in order to create a joint platform which would later help individuals to understand and to develop these types of productions.


Besides the lack of financial sources especially in Central Eastern Europe, the artists who are willing to use new technology tools in a coherent manner can’t find partners from the region as there is no platform for them. During the conference we are planning to enhance the researchers to form pilot projects as they get to know each other’s research and work. The overall event will raise the awareness of the artists&researchers based in the region regarding the importance of getting familiarized with each other, to form new regional collaborations, and also to create a regional lobby in cultural policy for this type of performance art. The Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest can offer a lively context for a conference that gathers professionals from different fields and it can also enrich the event’s program by presenting researchers from the university’s curriculum.


Catherine Allen (UK) – BAFTA winning immersive media specialist.
Mirka Duijn (NL) – International Emmy Award winning filmmaker, interaction designer.
Dr. Mirko Stojkovic (SR) – University professor, dramaturg, The Faculty of Dramatic Arts, Belgrade.


The conference will have 6 sections, in order to present the above mentioned issues from several points of view. We are also inviting research labs, movie professionals and immersive performing art companies to showcase their work or present it during the conference.


If you’d like to be considered for the best paper award and also be considered for a presentation at International Conference of Interactive Digital Storytelling ( please send a full paper in the Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS) format, available at:  (The conference will take place in Dublin, between 5-8 December, 2018)

Further details will soon be available on:


Please send us your abstract (max 350 words) and a short bio (max. 300 words) to the address: and please in CC: by the EXTENDED DEADLINE: 25TH OF JUNE, 2018. The papers will be reviewed by the conference committee. If your proposal will be accepted you will be given 20 minutes for your presentation. Registration fee: 50 Euro. The organizers cannot cover travel, accommodation and lodging costs. Upon request we can provide you invitation letter.


Organised by: Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest;

Strategical partner: Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania, Department of Film, Photography and Media

Supported by: the National Cultural Fund (NKA)

Consultant on behalf of ICIDS: Hartmut Koenitz


[1] Joshua A Fisher. Empathic Actualities: Toward a Taxonomy of Empathy in Virtual Reality. In: Nunes N., Oakley I., Nisi V. (eds) Interactive Storytelling. ICIDS 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 10690. Springer, Cham, 2017

[2] Murray, J. (1998/2016 (new edition)). Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

[3] Bogost, I. (2007). Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

[4] Katja Kwastek, Aesthetic of Interaction in Digital Art, MIT Press, Cambridge-London, 2013

[5] Gernot Böhme. Atmosphere as the Fundamental Concept of a New Aesthetics. In Thesis Eleven, 1993, 36; 113. DOI 10.117/072551369303600107

[6] Steve Benford – Gabriella Giannachi. Performing Mixed Reality. 2011, MIT Press, Massachusetts

[7] Koenitz, H. (2015). Towards a Specific Theory of Interactive Digital Narrative. In H. Koenitz, G. Ferri, M. Haahr, D. Sezen, & T. I. Sezen (Eds.), Interactive Digital Narrative (pp. 91–105). New York: Routledge.

[8] Jesse Damiani. Virtual Reality vs. 360 Degree Video – Semantic Divide (Last seen: 24.04.2018,


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