John Desnoyers-Stewart

profile

Position:

PhD Student

Contact:

john_desnoyers-stewart at sfu.ca

Affiliations:

Biography

John Desnoyers-Stewart is an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary artist-researcher pur­su­ing his PhD in Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC, Canada. He is a pro­fes­sional engi­neer with a Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies who seeks oppor­tu­ni­ties to bring knowl­edge from diverse dis­ci­plines together to pro­mote cre­ativ­ity and inno­va­tion. He is also a con­sul­tant with a broad array of exper­tise includ­ing graphic and prod­uct design and has devel­oped mixed real­ity instru­ments and tools for music and train­ing applications.

His cur­rent focus is devel­op­ing immer­sive instal­la­tions to encour­age new per­spec­tives on immer­sive tech­nol­ogy and to better under­stand its true poten­tial and study its effects. He has exhib­ited his multi-user mixed real­ity instal­la­tions, Transcending Perception, Body RemiXer, and JeL at art gal­leries and fes­ti­vals through­out the Greater Vancouver Area and in Regina, Canada. Through these instal­la­tions he hopes to encour­age social con­nec­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tive cre­ativ­ity, explor­ing pos­i­tive social appli­ca­tions of vir­tual real­ity and better under­stand­ing the expe­ri­ence of embody­ing abstract bodies.

Research Summary

Mixed real­ity, inter­ac­tive art, social con­nec­tion, embod­i­ment and tac­til­ity, pseudo-haptics, research in-the-wild.

Degrees

BASc in Industrial Systems Engineering (Co-Op), University of Regina, 2011
MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Creative Tech and Computer Science), University of Regina, 2018
PhD Candidate in Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University, in progress

Select Grants & Awards

Canada Council for the Arts Research and Creation Grant (2021−22)

SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship (2018−2023)

Engineers Canada TD Meloche-Monnex Scholarship (2019)

National Academy of Sciences Student Fellows Symposium Award (2018)

Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunity Graduate Scholarship (2017)

 

Projects

Designing with Biosignals Workshop at ACM DIS 2023

Designing with Biosignals: Challenges, Opportunities, and Future Directions for Integrating Physiological Signals in Human-Computer Interaction ABSTRACT Biosensing technologies are a rapidly increasing presence in our daily lives. These sensor-based technologies measure physiological processes including heart rate, breathing, skin conductance, brain activity and more. Researchers are exploring...


ETC - Embodied Telepresent Connection

Embodied Telepresent Connection (ETC): Exploring Virtual Social Touch Through Pseudohaptics ETC (Embodied Telepresent Connection) is an artistic VR project exploring ways of eliciting a feeling of embodied connection telepresently through pseudohaptics. This project emerged during the beginning of COVID-19-related lockdowns when our social interactions began to inhabit nearly exclusively virtual ...


Synedelica

Reality - Reimagined Synedelica reimagines what is possible with immersive technology, providing a new perspective on reality. In this synesthetic mixed reality experience, visuals of the real world are modulated by sound, attuning immersants to the beauty hidden in the seemingly mundane. Synedelica shows the world in a new light, rekindling childlike wonder and encouraging exploration. ...


Autoethnographic Close Reading of Self-transcendent VR Experiences

Sipping the Virtual Elixir: An autoethno­graphic close read­ing of Ayahuasca Kosmik Journey a self-transcendent vir­tual expe­ri­ence. Recently self-transcendent experiences are gaining interest in the research community because of their ability to support wellbeing. Experiences of self-transcendence can be transformative, leading to a diminishment of self/ego and the feeling of unity with n...


Design Strategies for Genuine Connection

There is a prominent interest in the potential of technology for mediating social connection, with a wealth of systems designed to foster the feeling of connection between strangers, friends, and family. In this project, we are exploring this design landscape to derive a transitional definition of mediated genuine connection and design strategies employed by artists and designers to support the f...


Star-Stuff: a way for the universe to know itself

Available on Oculus AppLab at https://www.oculus.com/experiences/quest/3367089710082568/ Inspired by Carl Sagan, Star-Stuff: a way for the universe to know itself is an immersive experience created to remind immersants of their fundamental connection to humanity and the Universe. This hybrid VR artwork brings two people together remotely or in a co-present installation. In both cases, the ...


SIRIUS - Virtual Earthgazing to mitigate effects of sensory isolation

SIRIUS (Scientific International Research in Unique Terrestrial Station) is a series of on-land isolation experiments modelling long-term spaceflight in order to assess the psychophysiological effects of isolation on a crew and prepare for long-duration spaceflights, such as a trip to Mars. An 8-month-long isolation study commenced in Moscow on Nov 4th, 2021, where a crew of 6 people (from Roscosm...


Breath of Light

One must first come to know, through observing oneself — just what one does with breathing. - Elsa Gindler Breath of light is a generative interactive installation, exhibited at the 13th Shanghai Biennale. The installation aims to foster a feeling of connection and awareness through the process of breathing synchronization. Each of the two participants generates their own light with their breat...


BioSpaceVR

Experience space like never before: An awe-inspiring VR experience that takes place in space where the Sun and stars react to biosensors. BioSpaceVR seeks to provide a virtual self-transcendent experience. Self-transcendent experiences are characterized by the feeling of unity with others and the world. Our project is a bio-responsive VR experience that creates an almost childlike experience of ...


Immersive Installation for Creative Expression and Public Performance: Transcending Perception

  Artist Statement Transcending Perception is an interactive Virtual Reality (VR) installation developed by John Desnoyers-Stewart that allows participants to collaborate in the creative, improvisational production of multisensory experiences. Bodies and space are transformed into instruments which translate presence into performance. This installation reminds participants that they are cre...


Body RemiXer

Extending Bodies to Stimulate Social Connection in an Immersive Installation Body RemiXer connects bodies through movement. It is an experiential projection based Virtual Reality installation that explores novel forms of embodied interaction between multiple participants where their bodies mix into a shared embodied representation producing a playful interaction that aims to support the feeling o...


Connecting through JeL – bio-responsive VR for interpersonal synchronization

Can a bio-responsive generative art installation foster interpersonal synchronization and connection? JeL is a bio-responsive, immersive, interactive, generative art installation designed to encourage physiological synchronization between the immersants. In this project, we will be exploring how novel forms of interaction can be included in immersive technology to foster the feeling of connection...


Connected through "AWE": creating immersive experiences for social connection

Do you get enough “awe” in your life? In our busy day-to-day lives, we often take our experiences for granted. While we have the technology to connect with one another, like smart phones, we don’t necessarily get outside with nature, or stargaze. Such activities may consist of common awe-inspiring moments, and we now understand that feeling awe is associated with all sorts of social and well...


Publications

Pennefather, P., Rizzotti, P., Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Stepanova, K., Riecke, B., Danenkov, L., Ryzhov, V., Saroyan, J., Beltran, W., & Chak, R. (2020). A Fun Palace: A Mixed Reality Event Through the Looking Glass of Cybernetics. Cybernetics and Human Knowing, 27(2), 61–80.
Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Smith, M. L., & Riecke, B. E. (2020). Transcending the Virtual Mirror Stage: Embodying the Virtual Self through the Digital Mirror. In E. Papadaki (Ed.), Radical Immersion: Navigating between virtual/physical environments and information bubbles (pp. 156–167). https://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/31046/
Desnoyers-Stewart, J. (2022). Star-Stuff [Oculus AppLab]. https://www.oculus.com/experiences/quest/3367089710082568/
Desnoyers-Stewart, J. (2022). Star-Stuff [Hoame VR]. Hoame VR. https://www.oculus.com/experiences/quest/3367089710082568/
Desnoyers-Stewart, J. (2022). Star-Stuff: a way for the universe to know itself. SIGGRAPH ’22  Immersive Pavilion, 1–2. https://doi.org/10.1145/3532834.3536198
Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Smith, M. L., & Riecke, B. E. (2019). Transcending the Virtual Mirror Stage: Embodying the virtual self through the digital mirror. Digital Research in the Humanities and Arts (DRHA) conference, London, UK. https://youtu.be/L6ykZLiGC8o
Spartin, L., & Desnoyers-Stewart, J. (2022). Digital Relationality: Relational aesthetics in contemporary interactive art. EVA London 2022, 1–8. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbj1K7z1Zcc
Desnoyers-Stewart, J. (2022). Star-Stuff: A Shared Immersive Experience in Space. ISEA 2022, 1–8.
Pennefather, P. P., & Desnoyers-Stewart, J. (2022). The Fun Palace: Designing Human Experiences at Mixed Reality Events to Increase Engagement. ISEA 2022, 1–5.
Stepanova, E. R., Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Höök, K., & Riecke, B. E. (2022). Strategies for Fostering a Genuine Feeling of Connection in Technologically Mediated Systems. Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 1–26. https://doi.org/10.1145/3491102.3517580
Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Stepanova, E. R., Pasquier, P., & Riecke, B. E. (2019). JeL: Connecting Through Breath in Virtual Reality. Extended Abstracts of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1145/3290607.3312845
Kitson, A. J., Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Miller, N., Adhikari, A., Stepanova, E. R., & Riecke, B. E. (2020). Can We Trust What’s Real? Using Fiction to Explore the Potential Dissociative Effects of Immersive Virtual Reality. Ethics of MR’20  Workshop at ACM CHI 2020 (Exploring Potentially Abusive Ethical, Social and Political Implications of Mixed Reality Research in HCI), Honolulu, HI, USA.
Sirius. (2021, October 1). [Curated & peer-reviewed Virtual Reality Exhibition]. V-Unframed, Vancouver, BC, Canada. https://www.alliancefrancaise.ca/v-unframed/the-artworks/sirius/
Stepanova, E. R., Brauns, K., Friedl-Werner, A., Miller, N., Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Adhikari, A., Riecke, B. E., & Stahn, A. C. (2022). A Neurophenomenological Approach to Better Understand the Effects of Eliciting Positive Experiences in Virtual Reality [Poster]. Phenomenological Methods in Neuroscience and Consciousness Research workshop, University of Zürich.
Stepanova, E. R., Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Kitson, A., Riecke, B. E., Antle, A. N., Ali, A. E., Frey, J., Tsaknaki, V., & Howell, N. (2023). Designing with Biosignals: Challenges, Opportunities, and Future Directions for Integrating Physiological Signals in Human-Computer Interaction. Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS Companion ’23), 1–4.
Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Stepanova, E. R., Liu, P., Kitson, A., Pennefather, P. P., Rhyzhov, V., & Riecke, B. E. (2023). Embodied Telepresent Connection (ETC): Exploring Virtual Social Touch Through Pseudohaptics. Extended Abstracts of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1145/3544549.3585843
Miller, N., Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Stepanova, E. R., Kitson, A., Bizzocchi, J., & Riecke, B. E. (2022). Sipping the Virtual Elixir: An autoethnographic close reading of Ayahuasca Kosmik Journey a self-transcendent virtual experience. Extended Senses (Full Paper), 1–8. http://extendedsenses.co.uk
Stepanova, E. R., Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Pasquier, P., & Riecke, B. E. (2020). JeL: Breathing Together to Connect with Others and Nature. DIS ’20: Proceedings of the 2020 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference, 641–654. https://doi.org/10.1145/3357236.3395532
Miller, N., Stepanova, E. R., Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Adhikari, A., Kitson, A., Pennefather, P., Quesnel, D., Brauns, K., Friedl-Werner, A., Stahn, A., & Riecke, B. E. (2023). Awedyssey: Design Tensions in Eliciting Self-transcendent Emotions in Virtual Reality to Support Mental Well-being and Connection. Proceedings of the 2023 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference, 189–211. https://doi.org/10.1145/3563657.3595998
Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Stepanova, E. R., Riecke, B. E., & Pennefather, P. (2020). Body RemiXer: Extending Bodies to Stimulate Social Connection in an Immersive Installation. Leonardo, 53(4), 394–400. https://doi.org/10.1162/leon_a_01925
Stepanova, E. R., Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Riecke, B. E., Huisman, G., & Ali, A. E. (2023). Human Bodies as Interaction Materials for Somatic, Social, and Multisensory Virtual Reality Experiences. CHI’23: Workshop on Body x Materials: A Workshop Exploring the Role of Material-Enabled Body-Based Multisensory Experiences, 1–4. https://doi.org/doi.org/10.1145/1122445.1122456
Stepanova, E. R., Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Kitson, A., Riecke, B. E., Antle, A. N., Ali, A. E., Frey, J., Tsaknaki, V., & Howell, N. (2023). Designing with Biosignals: Detailed Workshop Description. Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS ’23), 1–6.
Liu, P., Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Stepanova, E. R., & Riecke, B. E. (2023). Breath of Light: Towards Reclaiming Shared Breathing through a Meditative Installation. Leonardo, 56(5), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1162/leon_a_02401
Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Meneghini, M. B., Stepanova, E. R., & Riecke, B. E. (2023). Real Human Touch: Performer-Facilitated Touch Enhances Presence and Embodiment in Immersive Performance. Frontiers in Virtual Reality, 4, 1–45. https://doi.org/10.3389/frvir.2023.1336581
Miller, N., Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Stepanova, E. R., Kitson, A., Bizzocchi, J., & Riecke, B. E. (2022). Sipping the virtual elixir: An autoethnographic close reading of Ayahuasca Kosmik Journey, a self-transcendent virtual experience. Virtual Creativity, 12(Extended Senses: Embodying Technology), 27–44. https://doi.org/10.1386/vcr_00059_1
Desnoyers-Stewart, J. (2023, October 19). Star-Stuff: a way for the universe to know itself [Invited Virtual Reality Exhibition]. Victoria Extended Reality (XR) Mixer, KWENCH, Victoria, BC.
Desnoyers-Stewart, J. (2022, July). Star-Stuff [VR Meditation App]. Hoame VR. https://www.oculus.com/experiences/quest/3367089710082568/
Miller, N., Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Stepanova, E. R., Adhikari, A., Riecke, B. E., Pennefather, P. P., Kitson, A., & Quesnel, D. (2023, November 23). Awedyssey [Curated Mixed Reality Exhibition]. Cosmic Nights: Humans in Space, H.R. MacMillan Space Centre. https://events.sfu.ca/event/37966-cosmic-nights-humans-in-space
Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Stepanova, E. R., Liu, P., Ryzhov, V., Kitson, A., Pennefather, P. P., & Riecke, B. E. (2023, October 1). Embodied Telepresent Connection (ETC) [Curated Virtual Reality Exhibition]. VIFF Signals - Beta Lounge, Bentall II, Vancouver, BC, Canada. https://viff.org/signals/
Desnoyers-Stewart, J. (2023, December). Star-Stuff: a way for the universe to know itself. H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Desnoyers-Stewart, J. (2023, February 1). Star-Stuff: a way for the universe to know itself [Invited Virtual Reality Exhibition]. Night of Ideas Vancouver | More? Slow is Beautiful, BCIT Downtown Campus, Vancouver, BC. pwias.ubc.ca/events/feb-1-night-of-ideas-2023/
Desnoyers-Stewart, J. (2023, February 8). Star-Stuff: a way for the universe to know itself [Invited Virtual Reality Exhibition]. Immersive Technologies Seminar Series, University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus, Kelowna, BC. events.ok.ubc.ca/event/immersive-technologies-seminar-series-expanding-social-realities-through-abstract-embodiment
Desnoyers-Stewart, J. (2022, November 28). Star-Stuff: a way for the universe to know itself [Curated Virtual Reality Exhibition]. FIVARS 2022, Toronto, Canada and Los Angeles. https://fivars.net/stories/storiesfall2022/star-stuff/
Desnoyers-Stewart, J. (2022, October 6). Star-Stuff: a way for the universe to know itself [Curated Virtual Reality Exhibition]. VRE Fest Italy, Milan, Italy. https://www.vrefest.com/en/official-selection-vre22/
Desnoyers-Stewart, J. (2022, October 27). Star-Stuff: a way for the universe to know itself [Invited Virtual Reality Exhibition]. SFU Surrey Community Open House 2022, Surrey, BC, Canada. sfu.ca/surrey/open-house-2022.html
Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Stepanova, E. R., Liu, P., Kitson, A., Pennefather, P. P., Rhyzhov, V., & Riecke, B. E. (2023, April 20). Embodied Telepresent Connection (ETC): Exploring Virtual Social Touch Through Pseudohaptics [Curated Virtual Reality Exhibition]. Intangible Realities Lab Virtual Reality Exhibit, Santiago de Compostella, Spain. www.intangiblerealitieslab.org
Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Miller, N., Pennefather, P., & Riecke, B. E. (2023, April 20). Synedelica [Curated Virtual Reality Exhibition]. Intangible Realities Lab Virtual Reality Exhibit, Santiago de Compostella, Spain. www.intangiblerealitieslab.org
Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Miller, N., Pennefather, P., & Riecke, B. E. (2022, October 1). Synedelica [Curated Virtual Reality Exhibition]. V-Unframed, Center for Digital Media (CDM), Vancouver, BC, Canada. https://www.alliancefrancaise.ca/v-unframed/
Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Stepanova, E. R., Riecke, B. E., & Pennefather, P. (2020). Body RemiXer Virtualization for Recto VRso 2020 [Curated Virtual Reality Archival Work]. Recto VRso 2020, Online. rectovrso.laval-virtual.com/en/virtual-edition-2020/
Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Stepanova, E. R., Riecke, B. E., & Pennefather, P. (2022, April 12). Body RemiXer Virtualization for Recto VRso 2022 [Curated Virtual Reality Archival Work]. Recto VRso 2022, Laval, France. rectovrso.laval-virtual.com/en/virtual-edition-2020/
Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Stepanova, E. R., Riecke, B. E., & Pennefather, P. (2021, November 23). Body RemiXer Virtualization for Recto VRso 2021 [Curated Virtual Reality Archival Work]. FIAV - Festival International d’Art Vidéo de Casablanca, Laval, France. https://www.fiav.ma/assets/pdf/installations/6.pdf
Desnoyers-Stewart, J. (2021, October). Star-Stuff: a way for the universe to know itself [Curated Virtual Reality Exhibition]. V-Unframed, Vancouver, BC, Canada. https://www.alliancefrancaise.ca/v-unframed/
Miller, N., Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Stepanova, E. R., Adhikari, A., Kitson, A. J., Quesnel, D. T., Pennefather, P., & Riecke, B. E. (2021, October 1). Sirius [Curated & peer-reviewed Virtual Reality Exhibition]. V-Unframed, Vancouver, BC, Canada. https://www.alliancefrancaise.ca/v-unframed/the-artworks/sirius/
Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Stepanova, E. R., Riecke, B. E., & Pennefather, P. (2020, October). Body RemiXer [Online] [Curated Virtual Reality Exhibition]. Recto VRso Vancouver 2020, Vancouver, BC, Canada. https://www.alliancefrancaise.ca/rectovrso2020/
Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Stepanova, E. R., & Riecke, B. E. (2019, June 25). Body RemiXer [Curated & peer-reviewed Virtual Reality Exhibition]. Fun Palace Carnival of Mixed Realities, Center for Digital Media (CDM), Vancouver, BC, Canada. https://thecdm.ca/events/2019-06-25/the-fun-palace-carnival-mixed-realities
Stepanova, E. R., Desnoyers-Stewart, J., Riecke, B. E., & Pasquier, P. (2019, June 25). JeL – bio-responsive VR for interpersonal connection [Curated & peer-reviewed Virtual Reality Exhibition]. Fun Palace Carnival of Mixed Realities, Center for Digital Media (CDM), Vancouver, BC, Canada. https://thecdm.ca/events/2019-06-25/the-fun-palace-carnival-mixed-realities