Sensuous Screens

for the Moving Image 


Motion Graphics as part of Physical 

Sensuous Experiences



Sensuous Screens for the Moving Image is the outcome of various experimental video installation projects done within a research project concerned with how physical spaces can incorporate digital screen content towards human centered experiences and interaction. This project is in a process of looking at how motion graphics, as time based visuals and sound, can be integrated with spatial means of expression. 




What happens when motion graphics become part of spatial and sensuous experiences ?

At the moment this research project is looking at how motion graphics, as time based visuals and sound can be experienced and produced in a dialogue with spatial and sensuous means of expression. The research project finds itself in the context of emerging screen technology such as Virtual reality and Augmented reality, but chose to look at alternative ways of thinking towards a more sensuous digital experience. Various experiments, in the combining of projected video and physical environments are conducted in order to gather insights into this merging of the digital and the physical.

Motion graphics is historically a screen based film and animation phenomenon that is characterized by its ability to be mixing film, video, animation, illustration and graphic design elements into time based audio visual experiences. Up until now the historical development of motion graphics has been influenced by the development and involvement in screen media such as commercial and artistic filmmaking mainly towards cinema, television and computer graphics. (Michael Betancourt 2013). These screen media is now increasingly making a turn into the physical spaces through new media technology such as 360 video, VR(Virtual Reality) and AR(Augmented Reality). Motion graphics has throughout its history been following in the footsteps of the various screen media, adapting to the various formats and technologies. It is therefor likely that the future of motion graphics will be in the interaction with all the various screen media formats and technology that is evolving. In this scenario there are many variations in the use of screen technology. Some mediasolutions are almost purely digital, like the VR-technology and others are treating the digital as an element in a mainly physical and spatial context. Examples of these can be found within scenography, stage design, and projection mapping installations.


As motion graphics has the flexibility to move between many forms of these digital interactions with space it can be a good startingpoint for a discussion about how screen media is changing in its involvement with physical space. This discussion will focus on the possible change in the vocabulary and language of the cinema towards a more interactive spatial perspective. Perspectives on the tool set in the production, materials and prosess as well as the audience experience will be of relevance in this discussion. 



Merleau-Ponty perspectives on human perception will be a theoretical base and backdrop for the focus and emphasis on physical experience in combination with digital media elements. Merleau-Ponty sees the body and all of our senses as a-priori part of the structure of perception( s10: 2004) In this perspective a purely digital screen experience that exludes several sensory experiences might not be the optimal media experience in concern for the future integration of technology in society.


When looking the at a possible dialogue and dynamic relationship between the physical and the digital, both Hans Georg Gadamers philosopy on play and Bertholdt Brechts distancing effect (verfremdungseffekt) can help create a framework of understanding in the various means of expression and the experience of the audience.



This research project takes a responsibe human oriented standpoint as emerging technologies are influencing and shaping human lives and living environments. Developing and promoting alternatives to the mainstream global industrial technology might be nessesary to ensure a diverse and positive future of digital integration? Use of more site specific technology such as projection mapping and physical computing may pose as examples to more locally focused alternatives to VR and AR technology. In these technologies people are more aware and present in the RR -Real Reality (Time Magazine). 



The discussion will be about:


1. The relevance time as the moving image is integrated into an overall spatial experience – The moving image and the music as they are time based mediums transforms the space. The transfomation happens not by overriding the nature of the space but by adapting. This means that the traditional expectations to a videowork for instance might create frustrations for example when a texured surface disturbs the quality of a projected image. 



2. From cinema to spatial application-  A new set of vocabulary:

How motion graphics with roots in the the established vocabulary and language of the cinema changes to involve in spatial situation.


The dynamics of the interplaying media has effect on to what degree the original media need to change – Types of integration( online AR, VR to merging the digital with the physical as they are not just coexisting but have entered a symbiotic merging state., degree of integration,


Filmteori –Bordwell/ Thompson, Remedieringsteori, skjerm til rom- Lev Manovich/Roland Barthes


3. The visuality /form:

Here the advantage of motion graphics as not soly dependant on the cinematic framework of the wide range expressions and abstractions makes it able to make the shift from screen to space. Surrealism, dadaism, assosiations, subjectivity




The reception and interaction:

When describing the language it is by neccessity dependant on the human recipient the viewer/audience/users/target group in a communication and interaction



Jacques Rancières kunstfilosofi: The Emancipated Spectator



The narrowed scope 

By focusing on motion graphics in spatial contexts we limit the further discussion to looking at how time based visuality and sound can be integrated and introduced into various spatial contexts. Questions concerning both the experience and the way of creating these digital, physical spaces will be of equal relevance.

Research aims

The goal for this research will be to create a platform of understanding in the integration of the digital into the physical reality that in this case starts from the domain of motion graphics and can be extended into interactive media and physical architecture.

Context and Field of Research


Computerized goggles, glasses or contact lences together with earphones might be the future of screen technology (Kevin Kelly 2016). But is it the only kind of integration of the screen technology or the digital into physical environments? Can VR technology that is based on simulation of sensory experiences be supplemented by digital integration into the physical that is more sensuous an tangiable? Along side this technological development the notion of digital going physical is clear in the technology of 3D printing, lazer cutters, and maybe espaercially in what is called: the internet of things. The last one meaning that more of the objects that we surround us with will be increasingly online and linked to the internet in ways that make physical objects respond to digital information on the internet. All of these newer technologies are emphasizing the notion of a closer relation between the physical world and the digital. A question about what is real and what is not real might not be a discussion. Both are real, but in different ways, each representing variations of human experience based on the level of sensory experience(.............      ). 

The research into creating possible platforms of understanding of the merging of space and screen seems necessary in the context of the last decades increasing use of screens appearing in art institutions worldwide, as they have also become in everyday life (Mondloch 2010: xi). Cheaper and more accessible tools of production allows people to experiment and go outside the established concepts of media presentations. An example of this is the many experiments and productions related to 3D projection mapping where the screen is replaced with objects and architecture creating physical spaces interwoven with screen content. Interactive screen projections are used in exhibition spaces, theatre and dance performances where the audience are influencing the visual imagery. (See examples from dance, theatre and exhibition). When technology make it possible to connect what is happening in the space to whats apperaring on the screen it shows one technological type of bridging of screen and space. The dutch design agency called Lustlab is an example of a group of designers that present projects often expanding our understanding of what a screen is and how it can function in different environments and for different purposes. On the front page of Lustlabs homepage:, they state this:


According to LUSTlab, the future of digital media lies in the design of its use. Humanizing the unhuman, bringing the internet down to earth and finding the missing link between the digital and the physical. The outcomes vary from (strategic) visions to new communication tools, man-machine installations and physical products using digital content (Excerpt from 17. Sept 2015 )


Finding out how to relate the digital screen content to our physical world is according to Lustlabs statement one of the challanges in the understanding of screen and space experiences. This linking of screen and space is also under intense research in the expanding development of the screen technology called virtual reality and augmented reality. These are examples of technological development where screen content are presented through computerized goggles or glasses that utilize spatial environments as data input to serve the screen content and the experience related to this. Here the focus i s mostly on the virtual screen experience and less on the physical reality as a real life sensuous, even though the augmented reality technology type is including the physical environment by adding digital content to the physical world instead of replacing it. The perspective of virtual reality is therefor much in contrast to the focus presented in this essay, where the physical space and the real reality is more of the goal even when working with the screen content. Despite this difference in the means of creating spatial experiences, virtual reality and the focus on spatial implementation of screens are both concerned with connecting and narrowing the gap between the same elements of digital screen elements and space.


Theoretical perspectives 

As a philosophical platform in this investigation for an understanding of the organizing of screen content and spatial facilities is the discription of play as a phenomenon presented by Hans Georg Gadamer in: Truth and Method. From the perspectives that is given here, questions can be raised, on how space can pose as a potential partner in a conversation utilizing its various sensous and communicative expressions? 


Hans Georg Gadamers introduction into the ontologigal view on play is showing how play is described as something that take us away, making us forget time and place. His view on play shows us that under certain conditions this experience of being lost in time and space can occur. Factors such as a companion in the playing activity and an openness and undiscribed direction in the playing is nesessary in prolonging the playing mode. When it comes to experiencing a space that adresses the audience with a set of communicative features could this play as Gadamer suggeste take place also her, without a person as a ? Similar conditions of getting taken away into an atmosphere of play can maybe also relatable to all kinds of aesthetic experience where you as an audience is immersed in the experience forgetting time and place.


Berthold Brechts (verfremdungseffekt) is in this case something that was used to handle the situations where the theatre audience where interupted in their immersion into the characters and action of a play, to be reminded about the reality of the situation to make people rationally reflect upon the theme of the play instead of loosing themselves into the fiction of the storytelling.

Thee installations - 

The three main projects presented in this exposition are experiments forming empiric material towards reflections on motion graphics as it is sought integrated and introduced as part of spatial and sensuous experiences.

In the videoinstallation: Silence Interrupted a three meter tall tree trunk becomes a canvas for a projected video. The cylindrical surface of the tree urges the audience to move around the tree, never to be locked in position. The balancing and the equality of the sensuous qualities of the wooden trunk with the visuals added by the projected images is central to the installation. 


Motion Graphics Vocabulary, the Screen in Spatial Integration

As this exposition is focusing on the screen as an element introduced into an interplay with a physical installation the screen in the further discussion is thought of as a digital multimedia screen that can contain the whole range from still images to video and interactive content. This range is presenting us with different challanges as various types of content and functionality is within its framing structure representing a virtual space that shows time in different ways ( Lev Manovich 1995: 95) . A video screen present us with an image of the past while the interactive computerscreen is a realtime representation (Lev Manovich 1995: 103). The screens relationship to time and to that of scale is an important aspect in the further discussion. Also the distinction between the screen as an representation and the screen as simulation is important elements in looking at possible relationships and interplay between screens and space. In this discussion the element of sound and music will be considered as part of the screen experience and will therefor not be over looked as it is a major part in audiovisual experiences. But the more in depht view on music and sound experience will be left out in this essay.


What happens when motion graphics become part of physical and sensuous experiences?

The Interface and facilities of production

If motion graphics is part of this development it will now not only be relating to the screen technology of the past, but will now equally be influenced in prosess and product by the relationship with physical space, in more direct contact with human interaction and sences.

Process of creating the projects must, perhaps be changed?

The interface or tools and facilities of the creating must be altered into something else?




Dynamic Interplay: Materials and the projected video

Medium lit space- 


From cinematic approach to multidimentional objects and spaces. Mediaspaces



Feeling of presence - beeing present - simulations and physical experience

Illution/simulation Bill Viola - Scale/ immersiveness and presence

The 15 and 16th century illutionistic paintings

An analysis of Artist Bill Viola´s video work...........from 19... will pose as a main example of a work that can highlight some of the most important means of expressions in the three similar but different video installations that is furhter presented and analysed. Alle these installation projects will serve as a raw material in a discussion on some possible key factors in the experience of the merging of physical space and digital content.

All of these newer technologies are emphasizing the notion of a closer relation between the physical world and the digital. A question about what is real and what is not real might not be a discussion. Both are real, but in different ways, each representing variations of human experience based on the level of sensory experience. As


Earlier Work:

In Sight Of Heaven:  

Lepramuseet 2014 /Bergen Kjøtt 2015



Installation at: INSIDE WOOD