CFP: Special section "Immersion and expanded spectatorships"

Susana  Martins's picture
Call for Publications
March 1, 2022 to July 15, 2022
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Communication, Cultural History / Studies, Film and Film History, Popular Culture Studies


Aniki: Portuguese Journal of the Moving Image announces the call for papers for the special section "Immersion and expanded spectatorships", guest-edited by Victor Flores (CICANT, Lusófona University, Portugal), Susana S. Martins (IHA, NOVA-FCSH, Portugal), and John Plunkett (Exeter University, United Kingdom)

Immersion is a long-sought experience and a deep-seated desire in image worlds. Produced by still or moving images and engaging both static and mobile spectators, immersion is often described as a ‘sense of being there’, a ‘flow state’ or an ‘experience of a nonmediated space’. Recurrent synonyms such as ‘involvement’, ‘participation’, ‘transportation’ and ‘absorption’ have been used to outline this embodied mode of spectatorship and distinguish it from 2D or flat traditional media. Presence and sensory immersion are an enduring media craze with ups and downs over the last two centuries, requiring a more critical understanding of its cultural imagination and technological uptakes.

While immersive modes of spectatorship have been crucial to modern experiences in planetariums, museums, panoramas, cosmoramas, peepshows, magic lantern lectures and cinemas, the currently widespread availability of Virtual Reality technology and 360º interactive moving images both resumes and reshapes earlier expectations viewers had in watching pictures. This high-tech renewed sensual state of involvement is now dependent on photorealistic 3D graphics and real-time rendering and interaction with virtual objects. The new immersion specs rely on a much more dynamic and haptic interaction with narratives. Today, immersion has become a key and stable feature in the gaming industry, one of the most innovative sectors in technology. Expressions such as “immersive natives” (Steinicke 2016) reveal a new generation of fluent explorers of virtual environments, no longer constrained by physical reality and used to seeing images as “worlds and environments, places and spaces that need portals and escape hatches and are driven by problem-solving and viewer/ participant control over characters and their stories” (Burnett 2013: 201). On the other hand, the need for more realistic and immersive environments grew in importance as our daily life experiences (from work and communication to shopping and entertainment) are being transferred to virtual worlds, which are training us with new stimuli and perceptual challenges.

This special section, “Immersion and expanded spectatorships” of Aniki: Portuguese Journal of the Moving Image, will reflect on how the current hype surrounding the concept of ‘immersion’ might influence the future of cinema and any other media relying on virtual environments. It will examine how experiences of immersion have differently impacted and intersected the art world and its institutions. It also plans to rethink immersion in its long media history, combining cultural studies, media archaeology and art theory with VR and psychology studies. We, therefore, welcome paper submissions focused on the following themes or related topics:

- Presence and sensory immersion: an enduring media craze;
- Static and moving Panoramas: two immersive paradigms;
- Peepshows and Cosmoramas: Imaginative dislocation and virtual travel;
- ‘Total image’ utopias and other immersive myths;
- Cinematic immersion: From magic lantern shows to 360º interactive moving images;
- Virtual Reality films and storytelling;
- 3D Immersion: From stereoscopic photography to 3D cinema and 3D animation graphics;
- Mixed Reality environments: Current challenges to perception;
- Museums and immersion: Institutional and artistic responses;
- The future of VR pedagogy: Immersive tools for education and preservation

The deadline for the submission of complete and original articles in Portuguese or English is: 15 July 2022.

For further details, please go to: (please choose the English version on the right-hand menu).

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