Fiery Sparks of Light is an intimate, volumetric augmented reality (AR), book-based poetry experience spotlighting Canadian women poets. Directed by Caitlin Fisher, the experience features poetry and performances by award-winning Canadian women poets including Margaret Atwood, Nicole Brossard, Canisia Lubrin and Sarah Tolmie. It constitutes an emerging new genre of e-lit as well as highlighting new possibilities for elit pedagogy and the potential of volumetric XR to create new viewing situations, reach diverse learners and reveal new possibilities for elit practioners, connecting this work directly to the 2022 conference theme.
Fiery Sparks of Light premiered at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October where it was part of an exclusive programme that celebrated Canada as the Frankfurt Book Fair Guest of Honour 2021 An immersive and sensory celebration of poetry and the important contributions women poets have made to Canada’s international literary reputation, the poems selected explore feminist perspectives of patriarchy, gendered objectification, stereotyping and oppression, while further augmented audiovisual after-effects enhance the viewer’s experience.
Structure and technical requirements:
Using volumetric capture technology as its foundation, Fiery Sparks of Light includes an accompanying printed book that contains QR codes that bring Atwood, Brossard, Lubrin and Tolmie to life as ‘holograms’ on a mobile device. At ELO 2022, guests to the Media Arts Festival in Como will encounter the print book – or pages reproduced from the book – on a table or podium. The print book contains the full text of the poems as well as a QR code. Viewers will then experience these four poets reading their own original poems on either a tablet provided by us (and attached to the table or podium) running the Fiery Sparks of Light app or on viewers’ own smart phones (free download). Viewers will point their device’s camera at a series of QR codes, each associated with the individual poetry readings to launch the XR experience. With a run time of about two minutes per poem, we do not expect festival attendees to experience all of the poems, instead picking and choosing. While the majority of poets and poems are in English, this is a bilingual piece, showcasing the legendary Nicole Brossard performing in French.
Fiery Sparks of Light is the product of a collaboration of a group of Canadians in the arts and culture sector, who have deep respect and admiration for women’s voices and the poetic art form, and who are interested in developing audiences and content for storytelling in immersive media. It was produced with the participation of Telefilm Canada, Fiery Sparks of Light is a CFC Media Lab and York University Immersive Storytelling Lab co-production, in partnership with The Griffin Trust for Excellence In Poetry, and supported by OCAD University. Preview video here: https://vimeo.com/636638345
About the Author(s):
Caitlin Fisher directs the Immersive Storytelling Lab @AMPD Cinespace Studios and the Augmented Reality Lab at York University in Toronto where she is also a Professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Arts. A former Fulbright and Canada Research Chair, Fisher is the recipient of many international awards for digital storytelling. She serves on the Board of Directors for HASTAC and is President-elect of the ELO.
Immersive Storytelling Lab, York University