The development of this project was both fraught and fruitful. The project began with a research team coming together and developing a research proposal for SSHRC. Our original proposal to SSHRC can be found here. Once we were successful, we undertook a lengthy discussion concerning what we meant by ‘worldviews’ or ‘axioms’, how we think they function, and which ones we thought would be worth exploring. An evolution of the discussion of the principles or axioms behind the project can be found through the series of documents. We started with four different axioms, and created a table dividing these worldviews across a number of dimensions (click here). Our four were reduced to three, for easier handling, and found significant inspiration from Richard Rorty. To see the updated table along with key passages from Rorty illuminating the three worldviews now in play, click here.
Crucial to this research was allowing participants to experience the axioms, rather than having them explained. Our strategy was to create a series of interactive rooms to accomplish this, fully designed rooms whose overall aesthetic and modes of interactivity manifest key principles of the axiom in question. For a look at the design brief given to Drew Facey, our set designer, see here. In the 2016 version of the experience, these axioms didn’t just manifest in a series of rooms, but we also built characters from them, personalities that we felt expressed the key features of each axiom or worldview. Our axiom character discussion can be found here).
Fitting all this into a design strategy that still left adequate space for artistic experimentation and input was not easy. Between November of 2014 and March of 2015, the research team continued to develop a more concrete and coherent vision of what they saw the experience consisting of, and how it would be structured and expressed. Two power points from this time capture the evolution of the project from November 2014 until March 2015.
From there, script and design work was able to begin. See the following links for early images and rendering early mockups and a description of the Walkthrough January 2015. A year later, script, audio, set, and tech were complete resulting in an experience you can see snapshots of here: walkthrough April 2016