Call: II. Zip-Scene Conference on Analogue and Digital Immersive Spaces

Call for Papers

II. Zip-Scene Conference on Analogue and Digital Immersive Spaces
Topic: Interactive Narratives – the Future of Storytelling and Immersion in mixed reality mediums and performing arts
10-12 November, 2019
Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest, Hungary

Abstract and bio deadline (extended): July 1, 2019

New digital tools provide novel opportunities for interactive digital narratives (IDN) in mixed reality environments, performance art and analogue immersive spaces. But does this mean that we can tell existing stories in a better way in these environments? Or should we change our way of thinking about how we perceive our world in order to create more comprehensive narrative experiences? In a recent keynote (ICIDS 2018 conference) Janet H. Murray – author of the groundbreaking volume Hamlet on Holodeck – the Future of Narrative in Cyberspace (1997/2016), reminds us that “a kaleidoscopic habit of thinking” can help us “envision a more integrated transformational future” and “open up the possibility of expanding our understanding of the world and our cognitive capacity” (Murray, 2018:17). To better grasp the complexity of the world, it is important to enhance emerging artistic practices in order to create opportunities for critical reflection while acknowledging the changed relationship between creators and audiences turned participants/prosumers/experiencers.

This conference aims to investigate whether XR/extended reality (VR/AR/MR) works will acquire a status comparable to film, performing arts and video games in the near future. On this basis, we are looking forward to papers that address narrative experiences enabled by XR and especially VR technologies. Papers should address either one or several of the following questions:

  • What kind of narratives can be used to create possibility spaces in such immersive productions?
  • How much engagement with and control over the narrative path is desirable for the audience turned participants?
  • What design strategies can guide these participatory experiences: for example, live performers, orchestrators, and set designers using the sensorium of New Horror (see Ndalianis, 2012) or somaesthetic design concepts (see Höök, 2018) to create novel forms of immersion in these environments?
  • What kind of design strategies can we use to provide a satisfying level of agency to participant audiences and provide opportunities for co-creation?
  • What is the current status of interactive digital narrative experiences, have they completed their evolution from being media of attraction (see Rouse, 2016) or there is still a long way for them to go in order to find the right direction?
  • What can we learn from a comparison of site-specific live arts productions with those of VR projects?
  • How can we explore free-form play and rule-based gaming as different types of performances within mixed-reality theatre and immersive theatre?

In addition, we want to challenge established storytelling strategies and instead more thoroughly analyze ways of creating engaging experiences:

  • What kind of principles of video game design do XR productions make use of (e.g. puzzle dependency charts and plot-shaped level design – see Short, 2019)?
  • What design strategies created the experience of full immersivity and presence for their users-turned-participants (see 2018/4 issue of the journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media).

Further developing Murray’s perspective on the ‘kaleidoscopic habit’, we expect presentations that engage with the practice of transdisciplinary creators to adapt video game mechanics, various sensorium settings and interactive narrative design strategies in order to create fully immersive environments. Possible analyzes can be on topics such as overall aesthetics authorial affordances, design principles and conventions (Koenitz et al, 2018) as well as the audience’s experience (especially engagement and empowering mechanisms) and, last but not least, as interactive narratives. Some possible perspectives include Murray’s affordances and aesthetic qualities of the digital medium, Bogost’s procedural rhetoric, Kwastek’s “aesthetics of interactivity”, somaesthetic design concepts (Höök), guiding strategies based on New Horror’s sensorium (Ndalianis, 2012) the trajectories offered by them (based on Benford-Giannachi’s concept) and interactive narrative systems (Koenitz, 2015).


  • 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)
  • Transmedia storytelling

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 July 1, 2019. Please send us your abstract (max 350 words) and a short bio (max. 300 words) to the address: and please in CC: The papers will be reviewed by the conference committee. If your proposal will be accepted you will be given 20 minutes for your presentation.


The organizers cannot cover travel, accommodation and lodging costs. Upon request we can provide you invitation letter.


The conference addresses scientific researchers, game professionals, programmers, artists, scholars and professionals from the field of performing arts, game studies, interactive storytellers, experience designers, narrative designers, VR-professionals and philosophers concerned with the conference topics. The conference aims to bring together emerging scholars, professionals and creators 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. The conference will bring together artists & researchers based in the region forum and we plan to form pilot projects amongst the participants and create new regional collaborations. We also want 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 will further enrich the event’s program by presenting researchers from the university’s curriculum.


Pola Borkiewicz (PL) – Institute of Psychology of the Polish Academy of Science&Academy of Fine Art, Warsaw
Rebecca Rouse (USA) – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – Troy, NY
Mathieu Triclot (FR) – University of Technology of Belfort-Montbéliard


Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest


  1. Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania, Department of Film, Photography and Media
  2. Code and Soda Company/Random Error Studio
  3. Verzio Human Rights Documentary Film Festival


National Cultural Fund (NKA), International Visegrad Fund, Wacław Felczak Foundation


Hartmut Koenitz


Benford S.& Giannachi, G. Performing Mixed Reality. 2011, MIT Press, Massachusetts

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

Höök, K. (2018). Designing with the Body. Cambridge MA, MIT Press

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.

Koenitz, H., Roth, C., Dubbelman, T., & Knoller, N. (2018). Interactive Narrative Design beyond the Secret Art Status: A Method to Verify Design Conventions for Interactive Narrative. Materialities of Literature, 6(1), 107–119.

Kwastek, K. (2013) Aesthetic of Interaction in Digital Art, MIT Press, Cambridge-London

Murray, J. Research into Interactive Digital Narrative: A Kaleidoscopic View. In: Rouse R., Koenitz H., Haahr M. (eds) Interactive Storytelling. ICIDS 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 11318. Springer, Cham, 2018. 17

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

Ndalianis, A. (2012). The Horror Sensorium. Media and the Senses. Jefferson, McFarland&Company

Rouse, R. (2016). Media of attraction: a media archeology approach to panoramas, kinematography, mixed reality and beyond. In: Nack, F., Gordon, A.S. (eds.) ICIDS 2016. LNCS, vol. 10045, Springer, Cham, 97–107.

Short, E. (2019) Mailbag: Self-Training in Narrative Design. Accessed 19 April 2019.


The Media Institute and the Doctoral School of Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design

Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest (MOME) is one of the most significant European institutions of visual culture due to its traditions and intellectual background. In its effort to visualize its professional concepts MOME compounds its own character and traditions with the most up-to-date trends. Its educational structure comprises architecture, design, media, as well as theory. Therefore, MOME has a great international potential considering its broad field of education and synthesis of students. The three-cycle study structure (BA/MA/DLA) provides adequate flexibility and mobility for its students. MOME’s definite ambition is to further broaden its international relations. It welcomes every professional co-operation which inspires its educational and artistic work. MOME on the one hand is a university which educates professional designers, and on the other hand an intellectual workshop with the aim of setting up creative process in order to enhance design consciousness in Hungary.

Main Organizer:

Ágnes Karolina BAKK / Zip-Scene (1986) graduated from Theatre Studies and Hungarian-Finnish Department at Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, later acquired her MA degree in Theatre Studies from Károli Gáspár University, Budapest. In 2015 she was member of the organizing committee of IETM Budapest meeting responsible for the new technology sessions. She is the founder of the performing arts&new technologies blog: and is currently a PhD student at Moholy-Nagy Art and Design University in Budapest. She is currently a member of the research project Rethinking Intermediality in Contemporary Cinema: Changing Forms of In-Betweenness led by Ágnes Pethő (Sapientia University, Cluj) and organizer of the Zip-Scene Conference on immersive storytelling (8-10 November, Budapest). Her latest publication: How Interactivity is Changing in Immersive Performances. In: Interactive Storytelling. ICIDS 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 10690. Cham, Springer. Currently she is also a fellow of National Excellency program 2018-2019.

REGIONAL RELEVANCE: Zip-Scene Conference and Vektor Festival in Visegrad region

As part of the Zip-Scene conference and Vektor VR-section (within the frame of 16th Verzio International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival and co-organized with Random Error Studio and Code and Soda Ltd.), we are planning to organize a special section dedicated for professionals from the Visegrad region where the work and the research of cca. 40 international researchers and creators can be presented. Our goal is to organize the conference for the second time, and with this edition we propose to offer a special focus on our region. The conference and the VR-section will be a unique scientific and artistic event in Visegrad region and in Central Eastern Europe. The event will bring together practitioners from Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Austria by offering them space to present their work in the frame of the conference and the VR-section. This way they can meet personally and exchange their practice, expertise and best practices especially related to how to fund their work. This is also a good opportunity for networking and starting new collaborations (as it happened at the previous edition as well). By presenting these works in one section we can prove that our region can “also be put on the map” of immersive storytelling and we can also generate more visibility for them. In order to enhance their visibility we are also conducting and publishing English interviews online (on with the invited guests. At the VR-focused event there will be a showcase of approximately 10 of the interactive works including productions by the artists who are delegated by the partner NGO’s . This will be a unique event in the region: It is the only artistic/entertainment VR-festival that has a scientific framework offered by the conference.


International Visegrad Grant


Causa Creations (AU)
Institute of Documentary Film (CZ)
Digital Stories Lab / Total Immersion Foundation (PL)


Artopolis Association / PLACCC Festival (HU)

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