Opening with award ceremony, 18 international works from 12 countries in the artistic program, and festival closing with a virtual live concert in cooperation with the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival: VRHAM! VIRTUAL announces the program for this year’s digital festival edition from June 4 to 7, 2020.
This year’s venue is the virtual Museum of Other Realities. There, in the digitized version of Hamburg’s Oberhafenquartier, the well-known physical festival centre of 2018 and 2019, digitally reconstructed by INVR.Space, all selected artworks will be exhibited and made accessible in virtual space.
»Our festival has always been a place to perceive art differently. After having established the first artistic Virtual Reality Festival worldwide, we are now the first in trying to establish a complete art festival with interactive exhibitions, a completely virtual venue, social interaction between the visitors, live events, residencies, award shows etc. into the virtual realm. This is a total experiment and we couldn’t be more excited to find out together with our audience and our incredible partners what a virtual extension of a physical art festival can contribute, not only as a short-term emergency plan, but as an important addition to our location-based festival«, says Ulrich Schrauth, Artistic Director of VRHAM!
The festival section VREXHIBITION presents ten state-of-the-art VR experiences, including the project Daughters of Chibok by Joel ‘Kachie Benson, which won the Golden Lion for the best VR story at the Venice Festival in 2019. From the perspective of mothers, the Nigerian director recounts the aftermath of the 276 young girls abducted in 2014 by the terrorist group Boko Haram and examines current global issues of gender justice. Rain Fruits by Youngyoon Song and Sngmoo Leeist, a story about future dreams and disappointments of a young man from Myanmar, will be shown at VRCINEMA with another 360° project under the thematic bracket DRIFT OF LIFE. Six more works are presented in the section under the topics FLOW OF TIME and CHANGE OF MIND. »Everything is in flow at the moment. Many people use this time as an opportunity to pause, to re-evaluate inner beliefs and the perception of the world surrounding them. Water is the perfect symbol for this fluidity of emotions which are expressed among all the creators contributing to this exhibition, so we also used it as a combining element in our set design,« says Ulrich Schrauth.
The digital opening ceremony on 4 June at 19.00 h with speeches, talks and live music is also an award show. The VRHAMMY Award, worth 5,000 Euros, goes to the best international VR production in this year’s exhibition program and is presented with the kind support of the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius in the presence of the artists and the international jury of experts. On the same evening, public guided tours through the digital exhibition will be offered, for which visitors can register at www.vrham.de already before the start of the festival. In one of the virtual artist talks on 5 June at 16.00 h Ulrich Schrauth will ask the artists Michelle-Marie Letelier (The Bone), Christian Lemmerz (La Apparizione) and Michel Lemieux (iCarus) what bridge VR art can build in times of physical distance. The projects Captured and The smallest of Worlds – a Social Landscape of collected Privacy were selected for this year’s residencies in cooperation with Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein. During the festival, both artistic teams will give an insight into the current state of their work, which will be realized in the context of a digital residency and accompanied by international mentors.
After the final panel discussion and the presentation of the People’s Choice Award to the most popular work of this year’s program, VRHAM VIRTUAL! will end musically on 7 June: In cooperation with the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival and with the support of the Nordakademie Foundation, the work Tessellatum by Donnacha Denney from the concert series »Moondog« will be broadcast live by viola da gamba-player Liam Byrne and four string players in the Museum of Other Realities and on YouTube.
The entire festival programme can be viewed live from the comfort of your own home with your laptop or PC, with mobile VR glasses or with high-end VR glasses. VRHAM!, in cooperation with Grover and with the kind support of the DKB-Bank, provides festival visitors with a limited number of VR glasses at a greatly reduced price for rent. The digital festival edition VRHAM! VIRTUAL can be accessed via the Museum of Other Realities. In addition, the majority of the artworks can be experienced via the MagentaVR App. Streamed museum tours, video material, 360° video films and interviews with the artists as well as all panels, workshops and live acts including the opening and closing will be broadcast on the VRHAM! YouTube channel from 4 to 7 June, 2020.