Media Lab Helsinki


Crucible Studio studies storytelling systems in the context of interactive and performative media environments, technologies, and cultures. In our view, narrative agents – author-directors, actor-performer-players, and audience-followers – enact situated and sensuous storytelling as their embodied expression of the shared experience. These elements merge into the second-order authorship, a systemic organisation and supervision of narrative, or rather, drama (narration through action). We identify different systemic aspects of storytelling through their dynamic dramaturgic nature on one hand, and, on the other, as intersubjectively shared experiences. The studio applies artistic and scientific research methods to study storytelling systems by the means of creative production and neuroimaging methods for the development of new media experiences.

Dynamic Dramaturgies


Crucible Studio aims to create new insights to the dynamic nature of expressiveness and drama. One of our main foci is, by means of creative production, to develop flexible computational systems that support dialogical, improvisational, and multisensuous interaction with the narrative agents. A dynamic dramaturgy rearranges itself in various authored ways in terms of the agents, their flexible features, and the drive within dramatic content. To facilitate such a dynamic dramaturgy, one needs to identify its logics, expressions (of narrative logic) and rhetoric (persuasions by expression). The new storytelling tools creation includes adaptive narrative agents, intelligent characters, and meaningful situations that enable personalised sustainable experiences modified on the fly. From practical point of view, our research on dynamic dramaturges emphasises recycling of dramaturgical units in different creative productions.

Hence, dynamic dramaturges can enhance interactive participants’ motivation for “re-runs,” which increases the sustainability of the time and money invested in the creation of any interactive experience.

Intersubjectively Shared Experiences


In Crucible Studio’s vision, the situated and sensuous storytelling is embodied by nature, meaning that both authors and participants as human beings are inseparably situated within their bio-cultural environment. In addition, we assume that humans share experiences to a far greater extent than many of us are willing to admit. Hence, the triadic relation of body-brain-world calls for research on the neural underpinning of intersubjectively shared narrative experience, creative imagination, and the act of storytelling. Pioneering in the field, the studio harnesses psycho-physiological and neuroimaging methods, to create new insights to the dynamic nature of interactive narrative expressiveness, performance, and drama. The aim is to study humans interacting with narrative systems and enactive virtual agents, in order to increase our understanding on dialogical, improvisational, and multisensuous interaction with the participants and authors.



Crucible Studio was established in 2001 in collaboration with the University of Art and Design Helsinki's – now the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture – departments Media Centre Lume and Media Lab with Culminatum Ltd and the Finnish Ministry of Education to respond to the need of emotionally rich contents of high-quality new media products and to enhance the co-operation between experts in arts, science, technology and design.