CURVED: Literature for Bilingual Immersive Multi-screen Environments


David Jhave Johnston


Images now dominate display environments. IMAX and 3D cinemas do not display extended literary works on big screens. In films, language is limited to subtitles and credits. In advertisements, words operate as logos and slogans. The CURVED project intends to fill this cultural gap by extending the extensive research that has already occurred in the field of digital literature and rectilinear CAVE immersion into a curved 360-degree reading environment.

影像是一種主導的展示方式。IMAX及3D電影院的大屏幕上不能夠完全展示文學作品所表達的內容。在電影上,語言被局限於字幕及片尾;在廣告上,文字以口號及標誌的形式展示。通過擴展已在數碼文獻及rectilinear CAVE 沉浸式領域中廣泛的研究,本項目擬在 360度的曲面閱讀環境中填補這文化上的隔閡。

At the same time, readers are not solely native English-speakers. Often there are audiences whose capacity with language is sufficient up to a point. After that they require translations. In short, international audiences are often bilingual, they benefit from explicative text in their native tongue.


On the 8th floor of the Creative Media Centre at City University, there is a 360-degree cinema (developed by Jeffrey Shaw) that uses five 3D (stereoscopic) HD projectors and surround sound to create an interactive immersive environment inside a 10 metre diameter cylinder screen that is approximately twice the height of a human figure. It is not a book, not a codex, not a scroll, and not a CAVE; but its display system possesses an unprecedented capacity to allow writers new modes of expressions, and readers interactive access to words.

在香港城市大學創意媒體學院8樓,有一個360度影院(由Jeffrey Shaw教授開發)。該影院利用5個3D(stereoscopic)投影機及環迴立體聲,在一個直徑十米、約兩個人高的柱面屏幕上建立了一個互動沉浸式的環境。這不是一本書,不是一幅卷軸,也不是一個CAVE;但它的展示系統有著強大的能力,讓作家有新的表達模式,讀者亦能與文字進行互動。

The current study proposes to explore the affordances of curved interactive 3D spaces as sites for creative writing and reading in a bilingual culture.


Core Collaborators

  • David Jhave Johnston (overall coordinator, poet)
  • Ng Mei Kwan 吳美筠 (Chinese coordinator, poet)
  • Collier Nogues (English community coordinator, poet)
  • Leoson Cheong Tai Leong 張泰梁 (technical implementation, creator, 3D animation)
  • June Chu Wing Yan 朱穎甄 (2D animation, promotion & assorted translation)
  • Echo Zhao Qian 趙倩 (soundtracks)
  • Jean Wang Wen Jin 王文錦 (assorted translation)

Affiliated Content Contributors:
Michelle Pun Ho Yan (“Human”)
Ginny Yeung (“Human”)
Susanna Chen (“Important Notice”)

CURVED explored the affordances of curved interactive 3D spaces as sites for creative writing and reading in a bilingual culture. It culminated in an exhibit in June 2016.

Update Schedule: June 27th 5:30-7:30p 2016 Performance & readings on Facebook

Proposed Goal: Create a set of prototypes and then select 3 for development interactive video-poems for stereoscopic immersive space.
Results: A set of 6 stereoscopic video-poems exhibited.
Video documentation: https://vimeo.com/curved

Timeline: Spring 2015- 2016

CURVED is hosted by the School of Creative Media at City University of Hong Kong.

The CURVED work was fully/partial supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (Project No. CityU 21401414)

Location: Gallery 360 at 


“Pure Land: Inside the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang”. Directed by Sarah Kenderdine and Jeffrey Shaw

Previous work

CURVED research was preceded by a 2013-2014 research project called MILK which built a software pipeline in between Maya3D and Unity3D. Documentation of that process is here.