Digital Media- ‘Play’ Artefact

For my artefact based around the theme of play and digital media, I have been influenced by the idea of immersive environments. During a lecture we looked into the ideas of immersive environments and how, due to technology now,these environments seem so real, people believe they are actually there. Immersive environments is another area of the virtual world that links to the idea of trickery; immersion into virtual reality is a perception of being physically present in a non-physical world. The perception is created by surrounding the user of the VR system in images, sound or other stimuli that provide an engrossing total environment. Some people are aware they are in these immersive environments, where as others believe they are actually there in this virtual world. We also discussed the idea that a nightclub could be seen as an immersive environment/experience; at night you are immersed into this crazy atmosphere and the surreal experience, however if you walked through a club in the day time there would not be that atmosphere just the remains of the night before. The idea of a club being an immersive environment really interested me and it was something I wanted to look into further for this image set as going clubbing could be seen as the ‘play’ part of our life with regards to work, rest and play.

I started off my research into this theme by looking at the idea of immersive environments in the digital world; an immersive digital environment is an artificial, interactive, computer-created scene or ‘world’ within which a user can immerse themselves, an example of this is computer games. In relation to clubbing I feel that because of the atmosphere in the club, it feels like a different world one that is surreal yet interactive. I am really interested in the experience of the club and so I decided to research further into this idea.

I started by looking into the idea of the clubbing experience by looking at peoples comments on their ‘first time’ clubbing; I feel that these responses would show the first impressions and initial experiences of new people to clubbing. I looked at one persons review of their first time clubbing showing their experience with the club.

“The first thing I noticed was the smoke. The air was not clear as smoke machines were being used. I couldn’t properly tell where we were headed as I followed my friends. The next thing was the music. I imagined that the music would be loud but boy was I surprised at how loud it was. It was so loud! My ears are still ringing as I type this.”

“There were flashing lights that circulated the room which was cramped. Surprisingly the room didn’t smell as bad as I expected.”

“The music was alright but very techno-y which I’m not a huge fan of but as the night went on the DJ began playing some old R’n’B songs I liked and was quite happy to dance to.”

“The sight of people making-out around me so I decided to leave.”

“Maybe if I’d had a few drinks, I would have been oblivious to my surroundings but since I was completely sober I was able to see the good, the bad and the ugly.”

The main aspects of the experience that were mentioned by this individual were the lighting and use of smoke, and the dancing and music; I agree that these aspects stand out to myself also, they are what makes the club alive and a surreal experience, with loud music and the throbbing movement of the crowd as they dance. I am interested in this idea of the surreal experience of the club through the senses and being part of it.

I also looked at the article ‘What Is Sober Clubbing Really Like? Three Freshers Share Their Experiences‘, this article looked at the experiences of three sober students on a night out; one student said:

“I think we left the club at 2am, I’m told it normally gets quite crazy after then. We left just after people were starting to get a bit silly – I hadn’t seen that side of Brighton before. I didn’t realise how much people prey on each other when they’re out. That was a bit of a new experience.

“I definitely felt more aware of everything because I was sober. I sat on the bus when everyone was singing and shouting and playing these games that I interacted with, but it was a bit weird seeing it from almost an outsider’s point of view.”

Another of the students said:

“I remember what happened on the night out and I actually get a raw experience rather than a fake one.”

“The effects of alcohol are different on different people..”

The last stated:

“I went out with my friendship group but I was the only sober one. They thought it was hilarious that I was sober but I didn’t really enjoy myself. I’ve always been one of those people who’s said you don’t need alcohol to have a good time… but maybe sometimes you do.”

“I was the odd one out; they were finding things funnier than I was, I was noticing things that maybe I didn’t want to notice on the dance floor. You’re so aware when you’re sober – you think everyone’s noticing you and there’s a lot of pushing and shoving whereas normally when you’re drunk you don’t really care.”

All three students address different ideas around the clubbing experience, one thing that I mainly picked up on was the fact that each different person has a different experience, depending who they are with, their own personality and also the inclusion or not of alcohol, yet at the same time they are all in the same immersive environment. For my ‘play’ artefact I want to continue to look at the idea of immersive environments and the clubbing experience, looking at the music, lighting and atmosphere in a club. I plan to take this idea further by looking into different artists that could influence my work and how I plan to show this surreal immersive experience through my artefact.

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