Zoologia Fantastica in the Mist
Our project, Zoologia Fantastica in the Mist, will adapt the book Zoologia Fantastica by ZOOLOGÍA Jorge Luis Borges into an immersive, interactive, FANTASTICA Francisco Toledo forge Luis Borges mixed reality installation.
Zoologia Fantastica (or “The Book Of Imaginary Beings”) is a fable anthology in which each story describes a different mythological creature. This international collection includes stories from a diverse range of eminent authors, including Franz Kafka and Edgar Allan Poe.
We will create a 3D interactive environment that will bring to life six of these creatures by projection mapping them onto a mystical fog (shown to the right). This would be the first interactive mixed reality adaptation of Borges's seminal work of Latin American literature,
The resulting installation will captivate the audience with a smokey, surrealist dreamworld and short audio narrations which describe the stories of each mythological character in their original language. In adapting this work, the project aims to challenge the ways in which we experience works of classic literature and welcome modern viewers to experience the work in contemporary mediums. Viewers will be encouraged to form connections with other generations, other cultures, and with each other.
Our project will break the boundaries between literature and technology, expanding our understanding of how typical narratives can be visualized. In doing so, we will blend the fields of creative writing, visual arts, technology, education, and humanities in new and exciting ways. In the preface to Borges's Zoologia Fantastica, Borges notes “we should [allow] the reader to dip into these pages at random, just as one plays with the shifting patterns of a kaleidoscope.” We believe this project stays true to Borges's vision by exploring how storytelling and interactive technological environments can meaningfully adapt nonlinear narratives.
This project will further ICAT's goals of fostering transdisciplinarity research and community by integrating the usually disparate fields of literature and adaptive technology, using elements of 3D modeling, sound design, animation, AR, and HCI. We will break the boundaries of how literary narratives are typically visualized. Additionally, we believe this immersive environment will encourage diversity and embodied empathy in the viewer by allowing them to interact with an environment containing myths from around the world.
Methods and Strategies
Storytelling We will carefully curate stories from Zoologia Fantastica that are thematically cohesive and represent authors from a diverse set of cultures and countries. We will then write and draw character sketches based on these stories, and write brief monologues for each of the characters in the original language of the stories.
We will record these monologues in the language the original story was written, using multilingual members of the Virginia Tech community. We will also design a backing track and soundscape in Logic Pro X using synths and sampled sounds which reacts to movements from the viewer.
In order to bring these characters to life for the projections, we will 3D model, texture, and animate them in Maya and Zbrush. Once they are created, we will import them into a WebGL storyworld.
The live exhibition will be projected onto a wooden set piece that contains a fog machine and a speaker. The set fabrication will entail simple framing and carpentry to build a box and projector stands to accommodate the needs of our digital projected myth machine.
ICAT 2019-2020 Student Sead Grant