The concept of immersion in the figurative sense of the term has existed in the artistic sphere since the 1990s. It refers to a feeling of physical, emotional and mental absorption, triggered by a performance. An individual’s attention is completely taken up by images, a story or a game.
Dominique Arsenault and Martin Picard, authors of studies on immersion in video games, have distinguished three types of immersion: fictional immersion, sensory immersion and systemic immersion. Explanations.
Fictional immersion refers to the idea of entering completely into a fiction. Whether it is a book, a movie or any other kind of fictional content, the subject is totally absorbed by a story, a universe, characters. The imaginary world that is depicted in the book, series or other, makes him momentarily lose consciousness of the real world.
Fictional immersion, which can also be called narrative immersion, is an excellent learning vehicle. Storytelling and even interactive storytelling have already proven to be drivers of engagement and motivation in the education and teaching environment.
In museums, exhibitions are becoming more and more immersive, with devices that solicit the 5 senses. We speak ofsensory immersion when sensory stimuli cut us off from the world.
For the visual, we set up a scenography that gives the impression of being immersed in a decor. For the auditory, we use processes that reproduce real sounds. The sense of smell is sometimes solicited, with the diffusion of scents and perfumes. During an immersive experience visitors can also touch objects and taste products.
As for systemic immersion, its principle is based on the knowledge and mastery of the rules and procedures of cultural experience. The visitor can be led during a immersive exhibition to perform actions. These will provoke emotions in him.
The systemic immersion thus refers to the meeting between the object and the spectator. The system set up offers him a challenge that pushes him to go further. This is for example the case of a video game.
Often, immersive experiences involve both fictional immersion, sensory immersion and systemic immersion.