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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Feeling of Presence

Feeling of Presence
  • On September 2, 2018

In 2018, Naomi conducted a series of research experiments on the minimum amount of multisensory stimuli it requires to induce the Feeling of Presence (FoP) experience in participating visitors. FoP is a fleeting sensation often associated with neurological disorders or spiritual encounters, and yet its experience among healthy individuals is scarcely researched.

The final iteration of the project, named “Yours, Shadow.”, is an installation art piece that aims to induce FoP from the interactions with your own augmented shadow.


Studies have shown that our shadows bear a unique relationship with our bodily perceptions as well as a higher status in our cognitive processing. Manipulating the cast-body shadow with computer vision and spatial augmentation technologies yields some impressive bodily illusions and enables the sensory-motor conflicts that encourage FoP.

Upon constructing a media-rich installation with diverse sensory stimuli, the project hopes to elicit the experience of FoP in normal subjects. Two key areas explored include altering one’s bodily self-consciousness and supplying ambiguous sensory cues in the environment. A temporary mismatch between the sense of agency and the sense of ownership of the human body is believed to be a potential method to induce FoP. This has been a significant source of reference in the design process of the project.

In what looks like a typical art deco living room, the visitor is invited to sit by an illuminated table. They would soon discover their shadow emerges away from their body location, and it occasionally slows down or speeds up as if having its own agency. Upon touching the shadow, the visitor would experience subtle haptic feedback from the surface of the table and therefore perceive a tangible quality to the shadow. Such a sensorimotor disturbance promotes an impactful and evolving experience of FoP in the computer-mediated environment.



The contextual theory research leading up to the project can be read here: