‘Phenomenology’ is an experiential virtual reality “game of vignettes” about the objects of perception, and about being present in our bodies. ‘Phenomenology’ is an ambient game. ‘Phenomenology’ is short philosophical tract. ‘Phenomenology’ is a piece of experimental aleatoric music. ‘Phenomenology’ is a score for a performance art piece where the performer and audience are the same person. ‘Phenomenology’ is a game poem.
On beginning the game, the player is presented with a sequence of scenes that invite them to slow down, to listen, and to think about what it’s like simply to look. Many of the sequences in the game use computer graphics and present abstract geometric worlds, whose interactivity must be uncovered through play. Some of the game’s sequences use live action “immersive video,” shot with the Jaunt One camera, to create contrast, introduce narrative, and to raise questions for the audience.
‘Phenomenology’ is a “sitting down simulator,” and as such, it’s accessible and inclusive. The game was designed to be approachable by almost anyone with some sight and hearing, irrespective of age, experience or ability: anyone who can sit, look, and listen, can play. The game’s interactivity comes to life under the player’s gaze—no complicated, button-laden controllers are required. The narrative sequences in the game are being translated into multiple languages, making the game accessible to people in our own community of Los Angeles, who might only speak Spanish or Mandarin, as well as to people overseas.
Phenomenology is a gentle satire on the technological limits of virtual reality, and a sincere love-letter to the artistic possibilities of the form. It’s a tactile game, where you never touch anything. It’s a music game, where some of the music is just noise. It’s a narrative game, with no story.