A VR platform to visualise experience

(Pending editorial review)
United Kingdom (Brighton)
Pain and emotions are still rarely understood, and often impossible to see or measure. Using drawing, painting and collage to make these invisible experiences visible enables the indescribable to be shared with others and thereby increases the understanding of another’s subjective experience. Importantly it also provides the creator with a new perspective on their own experience. Body mapping is an arts-based research tool, which, due to its focus on embodied experience, lends itself to the exploration of bodily and psychological feelings and experience. Body mapping involves tracing around a person’s body to create a life-sized outline, which is then filled in via a creative and reflective process, producing an image that reveals aspects of embodied experience. Within this virtual reality experience, you will be guided to create your own, life-sized body map, which visualises and explores lived experience. You will be led through a series of meditative and creative activities based on the tenets of mindfulness in order to help articulate and visually express experiences of, and methods for coping with every day and out of the ordinary experiences of pain, emotion and sensory experience. This virtual reality experience is expanding the potential of bodymapping in a new paradigm that can be utilised in communication, research and health interventions for pain, sensory and mental health conditions. We are currently investigating its applications as an intervention in chronic pain, and have chronic pain specialists advising on the development. In addition, we have significant interest from the synaesthesia community as a tool to diagnose synaesthesia and begin to understand the connection between the senses, emotions and spatial recognition. Our approach is not interdisciplinary, it is antidisciplinary, and is a tool has the potential to transform health, wellbeing and how we come to understand lived experience.

Sarah has spent her career working across the interdisciplinary arts, academia, healthcare and technology as a producer, curator, artist and researcher. She graduated from the University of Kent with a First Class Honours in Anthropology with a Year in Japan BSc. Following her degree, she worked with the NHS before moving into contemporary art, worked with organisations including Fabrica Gallery and Lighthouse, Brighton. It was during this time, she experience a one time experience of psychosis, and became fascinated with ways to communicate lived experience and dissolve the barriers between healthcare professionals and patients. In 2016 she moved to Australia where she worked with The School of Life, TEDxSydney. It was here she began working in VR and joined The Big Anxiety Festival as a Researcher, VR Curator and “Awkward Conversationalist. ” In 2017 she moved to the US and became a research assistant at Stanford University, California, investigating the cross-cultural sensory experience of communicating with God. She moved back to the UK and founded Hatsumi in May 2018. Alongside her role with Hatsumi, she is the producer on Deep, a meditative VR experience controlled by breathing, and is the healthcare lead for Immerse UK.

Project leader

Sarah Ticho, Founder, Ed Silverton, Developer

Video about collaborators we've worked with on bodymapping

Image drawn in VR experience

Research workshop at Fabrica Gallery, as part of their exhibition Care(Less)

BodyMapping workshop t Fabrica Gallery, as part of their exhibition Care(Less)

The Hatsumi Advisory Team

Creative Commons License



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