Creating an engaging and innovative mixed reality performance (MRP) requires a shared understandings of the interplay between aesthetic, narrative, and technological possibilities amongst multi-disciplinary teams. If artists, directors, producers, set-designers and performers are to develop meaningful creative dialogues with novel, often experimental, technology, methods are required that enable them to interrogate the material properties of the technology at hand. Similarly, if interaction designers, programmers or hardware engineers are to meaningfully contribute to the development of performances, methods are needed that enable them to understand, and make concrete design judgements in response to the subtle issues and aspirations that drive creative processes and practices. In the words of John Lasseter, circumstances must be brought about wherein “The art challenges the technology, and the technology inspires the art”.
A number of research projects have sought to address the tension between MRPs and the design of interactive technology. Throughout this one-day workshop we intend to further discuss this tension by using Design Fiction to generate scenarios for MRPs. Design Fiction is based on a language of visual imagery and narrative (e.g. imaginary storyboards, scripts, vignettes) that is familiar to performance producers. This provides potential for this method to be successfully incorporated into existing creative processes used to author MRPs. Such design fictions can therefore act as boundary objects that enable technology designers to communicate creative possibilities in a form familiar to creative practitioners, and vice versa. Design fiction also encourages a holistic perspective on the fictional reality that would surround the artefact, providing a framework to explore scenarios involving Internet of Things (IoT) and biological sensors embedded in the environment for a variety of other purposes to be used in MRP. By drawing attention to novel interactive technologies, such as bio-sensors and environmental IoT, we seek to generate design fiction scenarios capturing the aesthetic and interactive potential for mixed-reality performances, as well as the challenges to gain access to audience members’ data – i.e. physiological states, daily routines, conversations, etc.