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The main objectives of this research were (i) to study interaction level theory in Virtual Reality, (ii) to design and apply specific user interaction levels in Enlightenment Virtual Reality new media art and (iii) to observe and evaluate the effects of user interaction levels on the audience while viewing the Virtual Reality new media art. From the audience perspective, the level of user interaction in Virtual Reality can be classified into 3 categories: “Spectator”, “Actor”, and “Creator-Actor”. Based on these three criteria of the user role in viewing new media art, the researcher then designed a series of Enlightenment Virtual Reality arts depicting events of Buddha’s enlightenment. A comparative study by observing audience while experiencing 3 different levels of interaction reveals that 1. level of user interaction has direct variation to the amount of time audience spend viewing the artwork and 2. level of user interaction has direct variation to user’s physical engagement during the course of viewing the Virtual Reality artworks. The study reveals that by incorporating various user interaction levels in the artworks, the engagement level of the audience’s also increased accordingly. This study affirmed the importance of user interaction level for designing effective Virtual Reality new media art-viewing experience.
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