Imagining the Impossible: The Fantastic as Media Entertainment and Play

This is a Danish funded network of researchers (Danish, UK, US, Australia) working with media fictions. The network asks why the fantastic has exploded in contemporary entertainment, how we create, design, and engage with the fantastic, and why the fantastic is important for human existence.


Danmarks Frie Forskningsfond/The Danish Independent Research Fund


Angela Ndalianis (TMT), Rikke Schubart (University of Southern Denmark), Amanda Howell (Griffith University), Anita Nell Bech Albertsen (University of Southern Denmark), Jakob Ion Wille (The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts), Jesper Juul (The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts), Cristina Bacchilega(University of Hawaii), Marc Malmdorf Andersen (Aarhus University), Margrethe Bruun Vaage (University of Kent), Mathias Clasen (Aarhus University), Sara Mosberg Iversen (University of Southern Denmark), Stephen Joyce (Aarhus University),  Stephanie Green (Griffith University)

Led by Associate Rikke Schubart (University of Southern Denmark) Imagining the Impossible This is a Danish funded network of researchers (Danish, UK, US, Australia) working with media fictions and production design in television, film, video games, and literature.

Investigators adopt an interdisciplinary approach and apply theories and methods from tradition media/film/TV/VR fields while also engaging in audience observation and biometric measuring (e.g. heart rate, eye-tracking), and theories of embodiment, particularly as applied to engagement with the experience of the fantastic in VR.

Today, the fantastic reigns supreme in entertainment. However, we lack research in why it appeals to a broad audience, why the genre exploded after the turn of the millennium, and – our key question – why and how the fantastic invites us into play.  

We ask why and how the fantastic appeals and if the fantastic is especially suited to ask questions about human existence, pressing questions in times of ecological crisis. Our aim is to establish an interdisciplinary task force that can create a shared theoretical platform for a study of the fantastic. 

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