Cartographie des médiations spatiales » Une proposition de classification des nouvelles formes de médiations numériques immersives.
Faced with an avalanche of oddly-assorted objects and technologies presented as so many keys to bring us into the era of immersive communication, we feel the need to reposition content at the center of our thinking. The aim of this article is to propose a scientific approach and a research protocol aimed at specifying and organizing the works that make up the wide range of current proposals for digital immersive experiences, basing ourselves on the perceptions and feelings of users. We consider that technologies are essential means for producing and transmitting content, while providing it with decisive characteristics, but that they must not be seen as the aim of the mediation. Far from us the idea of demonizing technical objects. We simply seek, as philosopher Gilbert Simondon urges us, to return them to their rightful place as objects in which « the human gesture fixed and crystallized into functioning structures » reside, and whose role is to be « mediators between nature and humans ». In developing our methodology, we have retained an intentionally restrictive definition of spatial mediations such that they involve the viewer in a spatial perception of the content: physical or virtual mobilization of the body and/or stimulation of spatial, visual and/or auditory perceptions. The corpus of our study will consist of about one hundred works in various « formats », from stereoscopic cinema to virtual reality, for which we will recall or propose definitions. We will present the criteria used to characterize the work and the experience of it (Ex.: activated senses; freedom of control within the space and time of the experience; possibilities for interaction and socialization.) Those criteria will allow us to evaluate different indices (Ex.: presence, immersion, hybridity, engagement of the senses), and to position the works within our mapping, the two defining axes of which will be perception and narration. We will then examine the possible emergence of specific areas of use that might constitute « formats » or « genres », and we will attempt to determine, a posteriori, how technological or economic factors stimulate some of them. At this stage of our research, this article does not seek to publish results but to examine an experimental protocol, choices of specification, and intuitions.