I am an immersive systems designer based between Glasgow and North East Fife. I am fascinated by the challenge of creating new narrative forms for diverse audiences using currently emerging technologies.
In my work at GSA and beyond, I have developed prize-winning virtual environments that exploit the storytelling potentials of immersive media to explore relationships between technology, remembrance/forgetting, participation and the built environment.
As a member of the first graduating cohort of BSc Immersive Systems Design students at the Glasgow School of Art, my practice combines a rigorous technical foundation in the craft and science of 3D modelling and game development, interdisciplinary research skills in history, science and design, and design thinking.
Researched and developed over four years, Remnant is a multimedia VR experience that combines archives, photogrammetry, film, oral histories and VR, using WW2 concrete structures as lenses that refract past and present experiences of young Fifers.
In Remnant, 3D scans of three sites in North-East Fife are re-contextualised inside of a virtual memorial gallery space. At Tentsmuir Beach, exiled Polish troops built Anti-Tank Cubes (1941) to defend Fife’s coastline against a Nazi invasion they feared was imminent. After the war, many of the young Polish soldiers made new lives in Fife, and today, the defences they built have become part of the landscape. Gravelpit Pillbox, (c.1941), once part of a network of elaborately camouflaged concrete defences scattered around Fife, is now an escape for local young people, referred to colloquially as ‘The Nazi Box’. Built in 1944, PoW camp 77 Annsmuir (experience still in development) is today a caravan park.
Inside the Metallurgist’s Workshop
Developed in collaboration with the Casa del Alabado Museum of Pre-Columbian Art in Quito, Ecuador, Inside the Metallurgist’s Workshop is the first ever virtual reconstruction of a Pre-Columbian Andean smelting workshop. The reconstruction establishes a new tool for Ecuadorian educators teaching indigenous heritage. One of the design challenges navigated in the development process was constructing a critical approach to visualisation, which responded to the problem of building virtual reconstructions of the past using fragmentary evidence. The work combines 3D scans of museum objects (evidence) with hand-drawn elements (hypothesis and interpretation). User-centred design and evaluation methods were deployed in collaboration with local researchers and educators to devise a tool that can have a meaningful impact on their work.
Evaluations with experts revealed the virtual workshop as an effective pedagogical tool that offered inherent advantages compared to ‘static’ learning materials: museum objects are discovered and re-contextualised through interaction, exploration and use, allowing learners to better imagine how they would have been used and to insert themselves in an imagined past world.
Play Inside the Metallurgist’s Workshop online at itch.io (Spanish)
Interference is an in-development augmented reality documentary for Microsoft HoloLens telling the story of semioticians, beurocrats and designers’ plans since the 1980s to create monuments and messages warning humans 10,000 years in the future about buried nuclear waste sites. These included building massive ‘menacing earthworks’, breeding bioluminescent cats and creating a Nuclear Priesthood. In the face of impending climate catastrophe, what can these proposed solutions tell us about our own roles as stewards of the earth for future generations, our tendency towards short-term thinking, and our current responses to the climate crisis?
Interference uses a large textile augmented reality target, which when recognised by the HoloLens headset, is enhanced with 3D models of the proposed interventions, archival footage and animations, allowing audiences to experience the impacts of these messages on the landscape thousands of years into the future.