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​You are all invited to make use of your actual hands to trigger and assist the progression of the plot, unveiling a story  of inequity, ownership, power and free will.

Part virtual reality (VR) narrative piece, part a physical kinetic set, Cognition bridges and overlaps physical and virtual worlds.

Through its multidisciplinary nature and the intriguing combination of filmmaking, stop-motion animation, prop making and engineering with some of the newest forms of creative technology (VR, hand recognition, movement and rotation tracking) currently available, Cognition explores how the integration of physical elements in a virtual environment alters participant’s level of immersion and engagement; as well as how immersive storytelling can be improved by incorporating more cinematic techniques.

Cognition is set in a world of flesh and gears that demands more than you have to give. It is a modern-day allegory with socioeconomic, political, ethical and religious extensions, regarding one’s literal or figurative lack of control over his/her body and self. A steampunk aesthetic world made of gears; its residents are humanoids made of bones and gears, covered in synthetic skin. World's core characteristic is its taxation system; money is replaced by gears, thus those without the means to pay eventually extract body parts (gears), to repay their taxes.


The experience encourages a critical view on technology. Through its design, it attacks the medium (VR) itself, breaking the virtual wall and relying the progression of the story on physical elements and real hand interaction. In this way, participants are allowed to maintain connection with the real world and their physical body while being in VR.


Concept-wise, its symbolism can be applied to globalized, capitalistic societies and authoritarian or theocratic ones. The lack of characters’ control over their existence, prompts participants to re-evaluate the socioeconomic conditions we live in; while visually are stimulated to contemplate our relationship with technology and its effect on humanity and nature, through the bare steampunk aesthetic and its vivid associations with the industrial revolution. The integration of technology into our everyday lives is gradually building walls of isolation, constantly demanding people’s already scarce attention. How much control do we have over our time and self and whose decision is it?

The goal for Cognition's future development is to create a fully customized to each participant experience, using  a combination of  biometrics,  tactile data and branching narrative techniques.  

"In a world made of flesh and gears that demands more than you have to give, what are you willing to sacrifice?”

Director | Art Director | Production Designer | Physical Model Maker | 3D World Modeler | Texture Artist

Eirini Lampiri

Julia Ronneberger

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