Doctoral research, completed January 2024

Walking away from VR as ‘empathy-machine’: peripatetic animations with 360 photogrammetry

Plymouth University and the 3D3 compendium

My AHRC-funded practice-as-research PhD partakes in an expanded documentary practice that weaves together walking, poetry, immersive technologies, and moving image. Central to my approach is the multifaceted notion of Peripatos  ̶  as a school of philosophy, a stroll-like walk, and the path where the stroll takes place, manifested both corporeally and as 'playful curiosity'.

The thread that interweaves practice and theory has my body-moving in the centre; I call it the ‘camera-walk’: a processional, performative shoot that documents a real place and the bodies that make it, while my hand holds high a camera-on-a-stick shooting 360-video. The resulting spherical video feeds into photogrammetric digital processing, and reassembles into digital 3D models that form the starting ground for still images, a site-specific installation, augmented reality (AR) exchanges, and short animated films. Within the collaborative projects* presented within my thesis, I move away from the colonialist-inspired ideal of ‘walking in someone else’s shoes’, and ‘tread softly’ along the footsteps of my co-walkers.

* follow the links to watch the documentation of Deep Waters and a trailer for The distance between the staircase and the sky, and see further below for Polykatoikia: Peripatos.

Conference Papers

Athanasopoulou, K. (2022) ‘Movement as Animation’s Material’, paper presented at [DCPR]3 - [Design - Creative Practice - Research]3 Conference, Design Museum, London, 25 November.Athanasopoulou, K. (2018)

Athanasopoulou, K. (2021) ‘Walking from Physical to Digital within “Deep Waters”’, paper presented at Animation Practice as Research Symposium 2021, Manchester School of Art [online], 21 April.

Athanasopoulou, K. (2021) ‘Walking away from VR as empathy-machine: kinaesthetic animations with 360-photogrammetry’, paper presented at Performance.Experience.Presence (PEP), Plymouth University [online], 15 December.

Athanasopoulou, K. (2021) ‘Glitching the Virtual’, paper presented at TaPRA Digital Distuptions: Bugs and Glitches in Live Performance [online], 4-5 June.

Athanasopoulou, K. (2021) ‘Walking from Physical to Digital within “Deep Waters”’, paper presented at Animation Practice as Research Symposium 2021, Manchester School of Art, [online], 21 April.

Athanasopoulou, K. (2019) ‘The Performing Skeleton and the Ghosts of CGI’, paper presented at Performing Animation, Animating Performance, King’s College London, 14 December.

Athanasopoulou, K. (2019) ‘A Virtual Walk through Spaces of Healing’, paper presented at Association for Medical Humanities (AMH) Conference 2019: Material Medicine: Objects, and Bodies, Plymouth University, 26-28 June.

Athanasopoulou, K. (2018) ‘Virtual Reality as Sculptural Cartography’, paper presented at Performance.Experience.Presence (PEP), Plymouth University, 10 December. Athanasopoulou, K. (2019) ‘The Peripatetics of Virtual Reality’, paper presented at Virtual Realities + Alterities RCA Research Symposium and Manifestation, Royal College of Art, London, 5 May.

Athanasopoulou, K. (2018) ‘From procession to processing to process: a VR walkthrough’, paper presented at Performance.Experience.Presence Weekend, Plymouth University, 26-27 October.

‘Towards a Cathartic Unpeeling of the Truth within VR Animated Documentary’, paper presented at Ecstatic Truth III: Making Sense Between Fantasy and Fact, Lusófona University, Lisbon, 8 July.

Cheiropoieton ©Katerina Athanasopoulou 2018

Varybombi burnt forest ©Katerina Athanasopoulou 2021

Stills from Polykatoikia:Peripatos ©Katerina Athanasopoulou 2022

Stills from The Distance between the staircase and the sky © Athanasopoulou 2022

Images from the ‘camera-walk’ and its SfM photogrammetric processing

‘Polykatoikia:Peripatos’ and ‘The distance between the staircase and the sky’

DIGITAL FLOW/S : An Exhibition Celebrating the 3D3 Doctoral Training Partnership

DIGITAL FLOW/S, which took place at Sparks Bristol in September 2023, offered the viewer a chance to experience a curated survey of practice-research produced by students and alumni from the 3D3 Doctoral programme, an AHRC-funded centre for doctoral training and a collaboration between Falmouth University, University of Plymouth, and UWE Bristol.  With a commitment to pioneer practice research in the digital creative arts, since 2014, 3D3 has trained interdisciplinary practitioner-researchers, and supported their ventures into cutting edge research in the interrelated fields of digital design, media, and arts.

I exhibited two films together. Polykatoikia:Peripatos (2022) is a split screen documentation of an AR exchange with the poet Sotiris Koutsoukos. Within an eight-floor building in Athens, the photogrammetric model of the building’s central staircase - created from a ‘camera-walk’ - was installed in its place of origin. The distance between the staircase and the sky (2022) is the short poetry film that derived from that very exchange, after Koutsoukos wrote a poem which became the spine (or staircase) for the film. Side-by-side, the two films converse; Polykatoikia:Peripatos is methodological and processual, revealing the bodies engaged in peripatetic dialogue; The distance between the staircase and the sky is a darkly playful journey into a new planet made from an old building, that re-imagines the everyday as otherwordly.

documentation video material © 3D3