Eidolon360 is a virtual reality artwork and experience that is interacted with through VR headsets, created in collaboration with Tom Flint. The viewer, reclining on a bed within the exhibition space, experiences a 360 film, shot within a medical simulation centre, which mimics clinical hospital locations, such as operating theatres and hospital wards. The reclining viewer inhabits the point of view of resuscitation manikin Resusci Anne, set within a resuscitation training room. A medic (actress Pauline Goldsmith) approaches Resusci Anne and tenderly recounts her origin story, an intriguing tale of a mysterious drowned young woman, found in Paris in the late 1880’s, who became the face of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), Resusci Anne, and has since been revived by over 300 million people worldwide. The film attempts to present an emotionally resonant anecdote, as an immersive experience, scrutinizing the overlaps between real life and simulation.
Eidolon360 is part of a larger creative research project Eidolon, an immersive, participatory performance, developed at the Scottish Centre for Simulation & Clinical Human Factors (SCSCHF) at the Forth Valley Royal Hospital, Larbert, a state-of the-art professional training facility, undertaking simulation based medical education for medical students, nurses and professionals. A range of training manikins, embodied with physical responses, such as pulse, breath, tears, and voice, are accommodated in multi-purpose simulated clinical hospital locations, which creates an extraordinary psychological fidelity for the trainees, resulting in a profound level of conviction and commitment by participants, to the simulated scenarios they experience. Eidolon was developed through collaboration between interdisciplinary partners, and investigates the emotive and psychological potential of training manikins, as a core construct for film and performance.
Eidolon echoes, yet at the same time disrupts and transgresses, the everyday activities of the simulation centre. This disruption triggers the appearance of empathetic, emotional, ambiguous, and, at times, uncomfortably human, fissures, within the typical clinical simulation scenarios. Eidolon unsettles the ethical boundaries and taboos around the relationship between medical practitioner and patient, or patient manikin, and hints at the possibility of latent physical, psychological and emotional realms within human-like bodies.
The Eidolon360 film transports the viewer from the role of passive observer to being the subject of the performance. This transgression is unnerving whilst simultaneously creating an unforgettable experience. The Eidolon project attempts to engage the audience with challenging questions about where humanity and consciousness lies within the body, and the effect of technical mediation, upon psychological and physical presence. What constitutes a real, authentic and meaningful experience within a simulated environment?
Eidolon was supported by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award, Creative Scotland, The University of Edinburgh and Napier University. It was been exhibited at Interactions Gallery, British HCI at the University of Sunderland (2017), xCoAx 2018 at the Museo del Plaje, Madrid, Spain and TEI 2018 (Twelfth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interactions) at the Stockholm Kulturhuser, Sweden.