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The transitional spectator of Virtual Reality



The goal of the project is to determine how viewers/users of non-fiction VR experience space, and how this experience of space relates to aesthetic choices. My hypothesis is that VR works build transitional spaces, willingly or unwillingly, through both aesthetics and the technology. For the project, we have interviewed 15 participants after they experienced the VR work The book of distance.



Communication of results

Coming conference presentation at "Questioning immersion", University of Bergen, 2-3 June 2022


"Refiguring Empathy and Immersion in Narrative VR: Empirical Insights"by Astrid Ensslin and Maud Ceuterick

In this combined presentation, we report on the findings of a cognitive, empirical audience research project using Randall Okita’s biographical The Book of Distance (2020). Ensslin will focus on how participants experienced and discursively constructed different nuances of cognitive, affective, associative and commissive empathy in relation to individual characters on the one hand and personal and situated factors on the other. Ceuterick will, in turn, examine aspects of spatiotemporal positioning and immersion, in particular regarding audiences' perception of the spaces of experience in VR, and will build on the idea of VR as creating "transitional spaces". In our discussion, we will explore how our qualitative study confirms and refines the findings from existing empirical research on immersion, spectatorship and empathy in VR.



Prospective publication: CFP in progress

Edited volume on the crossovers between cinema and virtual reality with the provisional title From Cinema to Virtual Reality and Back, and co-editor Kata Szita.

Latest Activities

‘Ethnographic and Empathetic Audiences in VR’

Zip-Scene Conference: Immersive Storytelling, Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest, Hungary

30 Sep.-2 Oct. 2021


‘The Transitional Spectator: into the Haptic Space of Postcinema’

NECS: Europen Network for Cinema and Media Studies Conference, Palermo, Italy (online) 7-13. Jun. 2021

‘The aurality of post-cinema: Towards an affirmative queer space’

FilmForum: XXVII International Film and Media Studies Conference, Gorizia-Udine, Italy (online)

2-4 Nov. 2020

(Video, passwd: UFF2020)

Latest Publications
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