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Elemental Spaces / Elementalraum

xR interactive mixed reality installation - work in progress 
By Tamiko Thiel, with Peter Graf as technical director.
Original music by Christoph Reiserer, with sound engineering by Steffen Schreiber.

Concept and Prototype funded by a generous grant from the FilmFernsehFonds Bayern

Elemental Spaces is a meditation on how the classical Western four elements (air, water, fire/energy, earth) are interwoven in the ecosystem of our planet - vital for life on this planet, but so ubiquitous we take them for granted.

Full ~9 minute experience of Elemental Spaces, showing live recording plus screen capture of what participant Dr. Marin Reljic was seeing in the VR headset. Thanks to xR Hub Bavaria and Festival of the Future, Munich.

Elemental Spaces / Elementalraum Full recording of Dr. Marin Reljic (11:30 minutes)

Dr. Marin Reljic is observing the project from his standpoint as musicologist and media art historian. The following 2 minute extract is his spontaneous commentary upon first experiencing the current prototype, exhibited thanks to xR Hub Bavaria at the Festival of the Future, Munich. (English subtitles from 00:50 on.)

Elemental Spaces / Elementalraum Spontaneous response from Dr. Marin Reljic (2 minutes)

Current updated version of the full, user directed prototype experience (~11 minutes).

Elemental Space / Elementalraum The four elements as seen in the virtual world. Mixed Reality Installation

It is also a personal investigation to understand how the chemical elements - atoms - that predominate in the classical elements are involved in life-sustaining cycles. I use the beautiful Lewis dot structures that depict valence electrons bondings atoms together into molecules to visualize the invisible substances that make up the most important chemicals in the four elements.

The visitors' interactions with the physical components of the installation - four bowls, containing representations of the four classical elements - release these Lewis structures into virtual spaces that show their effects and interactions with each other.


Elemental Spaces / Elementalraum visitor triggering the Big Bang

The gallery installation has four bowls, each containing a representation of one of the elements. The bowls and their supporting pedestals exist in both the real and the virtual worlds. Visitors grasp the bowls in both real and virtual worlds.


Heavier metal elements from the Earth bowl consolidate to form a molten planet.


The primordial atmosphere forms out of gases that would be toxic for most current lifeforms.


Life somehow arose out of the primordial soup and radiation - and then evolved into the cyanobacteria that would change the composition of the entire planet.


Cyanobacteria produce oxygen through photosynthesis, which enabled life as we know it - and also fire.

Cyanobacteria developed the capability to photosynthesize, which in the Great Oxygenation Event produced the oxygen that humans and other animals need to survive - and enabled fire, which we humans are using to return the Earth's atmosphere back to the toxic mixture that preceded this event.