Bitter Wind adapts the ancient Greek mythos, Agamemnon, for Microsoft’s spatial computing HoloLens headset. This mythos tells the story of Agamemnon, an arrogant king who helped Greece win the Trojan War. The day Agamemnon arrives home from the war, his wife Clytemnestra murders him in his bathtub. The murder is revenge for Agamemnon sacrificing their teenage daughter Iphigenia ten years earlier, so the Greek ships would have enough wind to sail to Troy. The moment Agamemnon sails away, Clytemnestra devises a plan to murder him. She sets up a relay system of torches stretching from her palace to Troy, so she will be first to know when Troy falls and Agamemnon is headed home. Then, for ten years, she paces about her house, looking out the windows for her torches to light. During those ten years checking out her window, she is where her daughter grew up. For 2500 years, Clytemnestra has been written off as one of the most enraged, power-hungry, and lustful characters in Greek mythology. To show that Clytemnestra’s grief drives her actions just as much as rage and power-hungriness, Bitter Wind was given a guide—a sad girl hologram who speaks mournfully to the user and points to the next triggers. Users curious enough to read about the mythos will realize the girl is Iphigenia, the daughter Agamemnon sacrificed.
A Decade of Grief: Greek Tragedy in Spatial Computing – Through the HoloLens’ multiple affordances and a set of 3D-printed puzzle pieces, an individual user slowly “unlocks” a series of interactive holograms that reveal the mythos’ key elements and the user’s role as Clytemnestra. Bitter Wind’s experience design uses spatial trigger boxes, spatial sound, directional gaze, first-generation air tap, and object recognition to place users in Clytemnestra’s embodied point-of-view as she paces, besieged by memories of her slaughtered daughter. The HoloLens is used to emphasize a crucial element of Clytemnestra’s ignored story.
Bitter Wind TEAM CREDITS:
Elizabeth Hunter, Project Director and Designer.
Nick Segreti, Project Manager and Programming
Don Herweg, Lead Programmer
Paul Sullivan, Technical Artist
Diana Kogan, Additional Art
Andrew M. Edwards, Music and Sound Design
Elizabeth Hunter is a critical theorist and digital maker. From immersive theatre to spatial computing, her research asks what happens when we inhabit a canonical story’s space—and the story seeps into ours. She is currently Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies and Director of the Fabula(b) Theatre + New Media incubator at San Francisco State University. Her work has been supported by Northwestern University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts, a Segal Design Fellowship, The Garage at Northwestern, the American Association for University Women, and Microsoft, where she was one of nine women, worldwide, featured in their inaugural “Women in Mixed Reality” initiative. Before returning to academia, Hunter was the founder of an immersive theatre company at a restored blast furnace and National Historic Landmark in Birmingham, Alabama. She holds a Ph.D. in Theatre from Northwestern University, an M.F.A. in Dramaturgy from Columbia University, and a B.A. in English from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.