Hauntings is a portrait of Australian artist/writer Francesca da Rimini. Francesca was a founding member of cyberfeminist collective VNS Matrix. Hauntings uses mixed reality technologies to create a series of portraits of Francesca reading her writing. Her stories are autobiographical and explore cultural diaspora and cross-generational family histories. They act as spells and incantations and often draw from algorithmic writing techniques.

These mixed reality (XR) encounters seek to recreate and reinterpret the experience of da Rimini's performances and readings. Each reading/performance is constructed as a kind of virtual sculpture that the audience can explore and interact with. These virtual spaces and the writing itself both share a deliberate tension between wanting to make sense of one's place in the world and the acceptance of fragmentation, of the breaking down of meaning and of the image. They seek to call forth more diverse perspectives on reality. The interactive experiences are influenced by Tonkin's ongoing explorations into embodied perception and the relationship between the movements of a viewer and the active bringing forth of a world.


To view the VR version of this work please go to:



Click on the interactive portraits below to activate them:

INTERACTION: you can rotate the 3d scenes by dragging on the window. You can move in and out or pan around by pinching in and out or dragging with two fingers OR you can use the mouse wheel and/or drag with the right mouse button! Refresh the page to mute.

(These works are in progress, stay tuned ...)






I've been working creatively with 3D technologies since 1985. This includes custom animation software written for the Amiga (1989-1994), interactive 3D artworks written in Java3D (20012008) and more recently realtime web-based 3D. Hauntings is the first work that I have made that uses mixed reality technologies. I am fascinated by the creative possibilities of XR and for this project I am exploring a fragmented portraiture. My recent work has explore embodied perception - how vision is an active process that is directed by the movements of the body. This work extends these investigations into mixed reality. A challenge for this project has been in finding a balance between the exploration of a fragmentation and fracturing of the virtual image while not throwing the audience into a state of narrative or spatial confusion.

This work was originally designed as a VR work but because of the COVID19 pandemic, I have reconfigured it to work online with optional AR and VR components using a range of web based technologies (WebXR, three.js)

biography http://johnt.org/about/john-tonkin-cv.pdf