Window /Room

What it deals a nutshell
A Window into the Room is a digital 3D art project in network led with young patients confined to the challenging and sensitive environment of a sterile isolation room. It was created and designed in January 2010, by 2 digital artists, Nicolas Sordello and Raphaël Isdant in collaboration with Art dans la Cité for the Onco-Hematology department of Armand Trousseau Hospital in Paris, France. Afterwards the project was also developed at the Nice Hospital/L'Archet2 and it is currently developed at the Centre Léon Bérard  IHOP in Lyon.
This project aims at breaking the young patients' triple isolation (hospital, disease, sterile chamber) suffering of heavy blood diseases such as Leukemia, by involving them in an interactive process of creation: they can explore new digital tools to create their own avatar and their own virtual world with other children on the platform as they would do in a playground at school. 
They start being alive again as they enter a new community and can communicate with other hospitalized children but also with their friends and relatives outside the hospital.
Thanks to the digital platform, children play again and dream, and build a new world, as well as a new physical appearance through their avatar that leads them to express themselves again very freely as they forget their disease in this brand new world.

The goals of the project are:
1) To enable children to “escape” the hospital depressing daily life through an original digital artwork/game and to share happy experiences with other young patients
2) To propose an original communication tool between the children but also with the parents and the outside world
3) To propose children to create an avatar with its own characteristics, in order to express their own personality beyond the disease
4) To teach children how to use 3D modeling devices to create digital virtual worlds on the internet and to sensitize them to a new logic of exhibition of their work and creation. It helps them to better understand spatial relations and dynamics
5) To create a community of young patients all over France and abroad

Technical requirements :
A Window into the Room is made possible with very simple technical requirements such as :
A USB Key to install the program on the children's computer, that contains the instructions (USB Keys are registered and the platform is “under control” – no confidential medical information are displayed on the platform)
A screen and projector in the parent’s room for the real time digital windows
And a good internet connexion (wi-fi or not) !

A double-entry window : from inside the hospital to outside, from outside the hospital to inside:
A Window into the room articulates in two spaces simultaneously:
- 1- The workshop in rooms: at the heart of the project there is an accessible virtual world on the Internet by the present laptop computer in every room. It is a created island / platform created by the artists and that the children investigate thanks to their avatar, a double of themselves which allows them to enter the virtual world. The children can create everything as they become the new architect of the platform, builders of cities…
2- The Window that opens on a new digital world can be screened outside the children rooms, in spaces such as the parent’s waiting rooms, so that children and parents can chat together in a light manner. A video-projection system on the wall of the parents’ room opens an interactive window into the children’s virtual world. This setup makes it possible to observe and even interact in real time with the workshops taking place in the children’s rooms. This window is thus a unique means of communicating with the children while allowing them to share their creativity.
Thanks to the "Window", the parents, relatives and the friends can discover the platform in big size and exchange with the children in their room.

The workshop
The artists led several workshop sessions to teach children how to use the various browsing and 3D creation devices to create their avatar and to transform the island where they progress.
These courses, of increasing difficulty, enable children to get acquainted, to know and to use these tools.
Progress of the workshop: customization (personalization) of the avatars, exploration of the world and its possibilities, familiarization with the tools of creation and 3D communication, creation of contents.
After 3 or 4 hours spent with the artists who guide their first steps during workshops in residence, children know how to move, create and interact in an autonomous way. Afterwards, they can introduce their close relations (parents or friends) and explain them how to do!
The residence can last from 3 weeks to 3 months, depending the number of children involved in this adventure and the schedule of the workshop.
During the workshop, artists will propose children a specific activity such as creating an animation that could be broadcast outside the hospital (in a cinema or a festival for animations)…
After all avatars are created and children get to be independent, we propose virtual workshops that enable to create special events in the platform.

To go further…
Art dans la Cité has also organized public exhibition sessions outside the hospital, screening the window on the walls of public spaces (Schools of Design, Forums…) to create a special event, connecting the young patients with the real world and real people outside the hospital.
These actions do sensitize wider audiences to leukemia and to the necessity of art in hospital to put life and replace the human being in each of us deep into the care device as one still remain being a human when entering the hospital, with its personality, its emotion and its dreams!

Unique and evolutionary, this project leads to predict numerous beneficial effects.
Our ambition now is to spread it in the largest number of hospitals to create a community.
Back home after the hospitalization, some children have spontaneously reconnected to the platform and gone on playing with their former friends at the hospital.

A Window into the Room was awarded several times
E-Virtuoses Award (serious game)
Prix de la Fondation Orange
Prix de la Fondation Roche