Sensate: A Journal for Experiments in Critical Media Practice (co-founded by CMP-ers Julia Yezbick and Lindsey Lodhie) has just launched a special collection called On Immersion exploring questions around a “sense of being there” and forms of mediated interaction in fields from cultural anthropology to immersive technology. The collection includes an editorial essay as well as articles by Peter Lunenfeld, Young Joo Lee, and Stephanie Deumer – some of which grew out of conversations at a CMP workshop on Immersion: Social and Technological Pasts and Futures held at the Radcliffe Institute in March 2019.
Collection co-editors Julia Yezbick, Rachel Yezbick, and CMP student Emilio Vavarella frame their questions in the introductory essay: “What purchase do we give to first-hand experience over other forms of mediated interaction? Where does the immersive begin and end? How do various forms of media immerse us differently, and to what effect? And what is gained and what is lost in immersive media experiences as compared to other forms or modalities of mediated experiences?”
Each piece in the collection makes use of the possibilities of the web medium in different ways. Lunenfeld’s “Collodial Supension: Immersion and the Pedagogies of Making” is entirely constructed within Google spreadsheets but breaks the traditional functional limits of that format; Lee’s “In between the states of Immersion and De-immersion” use a new “spacialized” tool to enable the reader to move through and rearrange her work as they might in a gallery or room.
It’s exciting to see this collection – which is still open for submissions – emerge in a format that is so visually, functionally, and intellectually rich.