ShapeShifter Intro

The intro to this project was about what it would be like to view the world from the creatures senses, unlike the project we did before as it’s focus was more on how humans would view the artwork.

One of the topics that the lecture focused on was animal senses which were:

Accuracy – Sight                                                                                                                                         Range – Infared                                                                                                                                           Type – Magnetic fields & electronic senses                                                                         Morphology – Shape, 360 vision, sound

One creature that has the incredible ability of morphology is the chameloen as it can change it’s colour to match the habitat it’s in and it and they also have 360 degree of vision, which is pretty remarkable.”Chameleons have a distinctive visual system that enables them to see their environment in almost 360 degrees (180 degrees horizontally and +/-90 degrees vertically). They do this in two ways. The first is with anatomical specialisations that enable the eyes to rotate with a high degree of freedom. The second is the chameleon’s ability to transition between monocular and binocular vision, meaning they can view objects with either eye independently, or with both eyes together.” (Le Berre and Bartlett, 1995)

The McGurk effect: The McGurk effect (named after Harry McGurk of McGurk & McDonald, 1976) is a compelling demonstration of how we all use visual speech information. The effect shows that we can’t help but integrate visual speech into what we ‘hear’.

The illusion explores how our senses can be conflicted when hearing the same words or phrases for example if you close your eyes when listening to what is being said you will hear the correct word but when your eyes our open the information gets overided as we focus on the movements of the mouth, hence hearing two different pieces of information.

A similar demonstration to the McGurk effect is John Cages performance water walks in which he uses a number of different objects such as a “water pitcher, an iron pipe, a goose call, a bottle of wine, an electric mixer, a whistle, a sprinkling can, ice cubes, two cymbals, a mechanical fish, a quail call, a rubber duck, a tape recorder, a vase of roses, a seltzer siphon, five radios and a bathtub” (Service, 2012)  If you watch the performance with your eyes open you can hear and see exactly how the sounds are getting produced but if you have your eyes closed and listen to the piece you perceive the performance differently, when listening to the piece when I had my eyes closed the environment that I envisioned was almost like a train station as it sounded like a busy place.

Double Flash : This illusion focuses on how we percieve two identical auditory beeps when they are presented in quick succession, accompanied by a single visual flash.

When two identical auditory beeps (inducers) are presented in quick succession accompanied by a single visual flash, observers often report seeing two visual flashes, rather than the physical one — the double flash illusion.

This lecture led to multiple numbers of ideas on viable experiments that could be presented for the brief, these were:

Snakes – Using infared vision to create a experience that only works when the movement of a person is detected.

Whiskers – The idea of this would be to feel the world without seeing it, the participant would be blind and would have 4 different sensors attached to them that would go on the front, back and sides. The sensors would vibrate when they are close to an obstacle so they don’t walk into anything.

Bats – Ultrasonic hearing

Platypus – Electromagnetic field

Chameleon – Using vr to create a experiment that gives the user the sight of a chameleon which would be controlled by two joysticks.

Projects that are similar to this are Birdly created by Somanics that uses Virtual reality to create a full body experience that recreates the notion of flying “… with your arms spread wide, an Oculus on your face, and headphones on your ears, you find yourself soaring over the city’s downtown, flapping your wings to gain altitude. It’s a calming, meditative experience. Immersive and exciting, Birdly is the kind of VR experience that turns skeptics into true believers…” (Bishop and Newton, 2015) 

The topic has also been covered in the popular tv series Game of Thrones, there are characters in the show that are known as skin changers that “have the ability to enter the of an animal, controlling its actions and experiencing the world through the beast’s senses.”(Brinton, 2016)





Brinton, P. (2016) Warging on Game of Thrones Is More Complicated Than You Thought. [Online] Available from: [accessed 15 December 2016]

Bishop, B. and Newton, C. (2015) The Ultimate Dream of Flying. [Online] Available from: [accessed 15 December 2016]

Service, T. (2012) A guide to John Cage’s music. [Online] Available from: [accessed 15 December 2016]

Le Berre, F. and Bartlett, R. (1995) The Chameleon handbook . New York: Barrons. [Online] Available from: François Le Berre, Richard D. Bartlett [accessed 15 December 2016]





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