Martina Krastev

Almost everyone believes in some sort of Afterlife.  The stories of people who have experienced NDEs live to tell of a highly aesthetic experience. This project analyses the pathicity of NDEs from a phenomenological point of view, based on the testimonials of  those been beyond death and back. Ontologically, the Afterlife shares many similarities with a Virtual Reality experience. Both feature a quest into another realm, a collision of space and time, an alteration of bodily perception, metaphysical visuals and a complete loss of material substance, among others. 

In order for the sense of ‘being-there’, to be fully achieved in VR, the olfactory aesthetic experience needs to be included. This aspect is what is currently lacking in mainstream VR. In the past, odours have played an important part in defining common moods and paving the emotional framework for important rites of passage. Why not use smells to signify the ritualistic and metaphysical aspect of VR? It is through olfaction that one can achieve a highly emotional and pathic VR experience.

MetaHeaven brings back the full immersion in VR by inviting the guest in a multi-modal exploration of the Afterlife. How do smells alter one’s perception of space and presence? Is one more affected when not needing to rely solely on vision for aesthetic appreciation of atmospheric feelings? Can the vividness of virtualised quasi-things be enhanced through olfaction? 

Martina Krastev

Former industrial & product designer turned VR developer. I am focusing on the way one experiences and generates atmospheric feelings in Virtual Reality.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

In 20 years my hard work and dedication to Virtual Reality is still paying off... I have contributed a small yet significant part into the new type of VR aesthetics and have helped change lives through thoughtful and beautiful VR products.

What is a good design for you?

Good design is timeless, good for the environment and of high aesthetic appeal. Good design has a great impact on your daily life.

What was the most challenging experience during your studies?

Trying to approach creative tasks with an physically-based mindset quickly proved redundant

Who or what inspires you?

Many things, but mostly old stuff and the sea.

How do you approach a new project?

With an open mind and vast amounts of research in the beggining.

What advice would you give to students who just started studying in your programme?

Explore the new possibilities you might have as a creative professional, as much as you can, your new calling might be right around the corner :) Take risks, but trust your gut as well. Stay true to your own design approach, while experimenting a lot. Most importantly though, have fun!

Have you changed during your studies? How?

Yes, I went from a slight technophobe to someone who completely embraces solely digital creation.

Why did you choose to study in your programme?

It seemed like an open-ended programme which one can tailor to their aspirations accordingly. I was right.

What are you not going to miss in your studies?

I will miss many things, most of all the time and encouragement provided to make mistakes, and the very interesting talks on philosophy.

How are you going to celebrate your graduation?

It all depends on Omicron :)

Say hi!

Chantal Marie Biwersi