Nicci Yin is a designer
of interactions and critical media, engaging design to bring together art and emerging technologies. She has contributed to curatorial projects, most notably with Space Caviar and Creative Time Reports, and produced feminist media while a fellow at Barnard Center for Research on Women. Most recently, Nicci's work has been shown at Ars Electronica, the Post-Internet Cities Conference, and Microsoft Design Expo. She is currently based in Seattle.

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Pivot Points



With Nan Tsai

Presented at Wobbly Realities: A Happy Hour in the Post-Geographic City (2018), Everyday Immersions Undergraduate Class (ArtCenter, 2017), and at the Microsoft Design Expo (2017)


Pivot Points


investigates how to make objects social in mixed reality, using objects scanned from “real reality” to connect multiple kinds of realities. This is a way to introduce a different kind of sociality into VR besides things like avatars.

Currently, models for virtual reality are things downloaded from asset stores, or from sites like Thingiverse. In this speculative proposal, when mixed reality (MR) and virtual reality (VR) are widely used, people can trace in physical objects from real reality (RR) via photogrammetry.

This project tackles two existing issues, the first being how we define and consequently design for mixed reality. One definition of mixed reality is the overlap or overlays of VR and RR layers. What Pivot Points proposes is reconsidering mixed reality as the mixing of different VR spaces.



Since VR is not a homogenous space, what are the ways we can encourage these spaces and their users to interact with each other socially?


Another issue the project is interested in challenging is how sociality is designed for online spaces. Pivot Points proposes that the objects individual users scan in from their lives can be used as “pivot points” in VR to connect their spaces with others, essentially creating a mixed reality neighborhood. The proposal focuses on RR objects of each user in order to encourage a more poetic, material, and personal approach to sociality, rather than the modes of sociality we see in online spaces today.


One question we asked was: Would visiting your neighbor allow you to touch, use, and borrow their other models and assets? This raises issues of privacy and etiquette: how is your space being seen? Are all of these spaces by default accessible to each other, and what are the customs of visiting?

As one way to answer these questions around privacy and customs, we imagine that a virtual commons could be created for accessing shared interests and assets. The neighborhood is essentially a spatial mapping of this commons. User-creators can generate and share Pivot Point, creating a different model of sociality in VR.

An early iteration explores a “transition zone” between RR and VR.







All images and content
(c) Nicci Yin.