The VR documentary Reeducated by Sam Wolson has been honoured with the VRHAMMY AWARD 2021. Michelle & Uri Kranot received a Special Mention for The Hangman at Home.

The international jury (Caroline Monnet, artist and director, Canada; Manuel Rossner,VR artist, Germany and Tricia Tuttle, Festival Director BFI London Film Festivals, London) lauded Reeducated “a new form of investigative journalism in a work which shines a light on an urgent human crisis in Northwest China, a political situation too little known.”

Produced by “The New Yorker”, this VR documentary takes viewers inside one of Xinjiang’s ‘reeducation’ camps. Since 2016, authorities in the autonomous Chinese province have implemented one of the most advanced police states in the world. By 2018, as many as one million people were held in a vast network of ‘reeducation centers’. It is likely the largest mass-internment drive of ethnic and religious minorities since the Second World War. Using hours of first-hand testimony, combined with hand-drawn animation, the recollections of three former inmates imprisoned in the same facility guide us, reconstructing the experience of detention and political reeducation in an immersive three-dimensional space.

The jury awarded a special mention to The Hangman at Home, praising its poignant storytelling. “The artists’ use of immersive techniques implored the audience to become fully immersed and investigate the environment to unlock its secrets. We loved the use of perspective – from the spectator’s changing position, to the protagonists’ direct gaze at the viewer.”

An animated VR experience exploring themes surrounding acknowledgement and the awkward intimacy of humanness, The Hangman at Home is constructed through five interwoven stories. Each situation presents a person, or persons, in a delicate moment: fragile, playful, terrified, contemplated, confused, curious… We can all be alike in these moments – prompting us to question our responses and responsibilities. The project is based on Carl Sandburg’s poem ‘The Hangman at Home’, from his acclaimed 1922 collection ‘Smoke & Steel’.



The 2021 VRHAM! Virtual Reality & Arts Festival takes place as a hybrid festival edition. From 4 to 12 June, the latest virtual and augmented reality artworks will be shown worldwide via the VRHAM! VIRTUAL venue, created by Berlin based VR Studio INVR.SPACE, as well as on site in Hamburg’s Oberhafenquartier.

“We are very pleased to be able to present VRHAM! to bring a little festival flair back to Hamburg at the beginning of June. A festival for virtual art also feeds on encounters and exchange, all of which we missed very much last year. We are sure that with our combination of virtual (VRHAM! VIRTUAL) and physical venue (Hamburg Oberhafen) we will offer all visitors in Hamburg and worldwide a broad and exciting art experience”, says Ulrich Schrauth, Artistic Director.

Programme & country focus

18 artworks from 15 countries have been selected from over 200 submissions for the VR EXHIBITION, VR CINEMA (in cooperation with and IMMERSIVE INSTALLATIONS. Among them are works that engage with transcendent experiences of nature (The Forest Inhales You), future worlds (Aporia), approaches to historiography and the culture of memory (Reeducated), and dive deep into the private and the intimate (The Hangman at Home). With his project Chaotic Body, created as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, British choreographer Alexander Whitley explores how dance can exist in a purely digital form and human movement can be visualised through an engagement with digital technologies in augmented reality. Chaotic Body will be shown during the VRHAM! Festival exclusively in Hamburg’s Oberhafen. This year’s country focus is Canada, where VR is highly regarded as an art form. A total of four works by teams of artists from Canada will be shown as part of the programme, including the installation Forward by Studio Iregular, on site in Hamburg.

Opening & Closing

The digital opening ceremony takes place on 4 June (19:00). It will feature talks, live music and the presentation of the VRHAMMY Award. Worth 5,000 euros, it will be awarded to the best international VR production of this year’s exhibition programme. It 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 (Caroline Monnet, artist and director; Manuel Rossner, VR artist; Tricia Tuttle, Festival Director, BFI London Film Festival). At the end of the festival, a group of artists will have the opportunity to pitch their projects to a jury of experts. With the support of Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, the winning entrant, who will be announced at the Closing Ceremony, has the chance to receive up to 10,000 euros in funding for concept development.

Discourse programme

Complementing the on-site activities, an extensive discourse programme with keynote speakers, artist talks and panel discussions will be made available online via the various VRHAM! Channels, with or without VR glasses. A large number of events will take place within the framework of VRHAM! FORWARD, a program exploring virtual and augmented reality in the performing arts. VRHAM! FORWARD is funded by the Fonds Darstellende Künste, with funds from the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. It is implemented in cooperation with the Institute for Futurology (ITZ) at the Zimmertheater Tübingen. As one of five partners in the EU research project REAL-IN, VRHAM! also invites you to a full-day convention on interactive and digital art on 11 June. The conference will be opened by Brigitte Zypries, former Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy.

VRHAM! in the city 

This year, VRHAM! will be taking to the streets with a poster and advertising campaign. Using a QR code, Hamburg residents can immerse themselves in the virtual world while walking through the streets before the festival begins. Keep your eyes open!

Access to the festival

The physical VRHAM! Festival, in Hamburg’s Oberhafenquartier, can be visited by booking a fixed ticket and individual time slot for the VR EXHIBITION (60 minutes, freely selectable artworks) and the VR CINEMA (30 minutes, pre-curated programme). Alternatively, the entire festival programme can be followed live from the comfort of your own home using a laptop or PC, mobile VR glasses or high-end VR glasses. The necessary VR equipment can be rented for a limited time at a reasonable price from VRHAM! and collected during the festival period. Access to the digital festival edition is via the festival app VRHAM! VIRTUAL. In addition, most of the artworks can be experienced via the interactive app Magenta VR by festival partner Deutsche Telekom. In addition, streamed museum tours, video footage, 360 video films and interviews with the artists as well as all panel discussions, workshops and live acts – including the opening and closing ceremonies – will be broadcast on the VRHAM! YouTube channel from 4 to 12 June.

The VR project Dazzle by artist duo Gibson/Martelli in collaboration with design collective Peut-Porter has been selected for the first VRHAM! open call as part of the EU project REAL-IN. In a one-week residency in Marseille, the team from UK will continue their project work under the mentorship of the multi-award winning production company Dark Euphoria. 

The VR experience Dazzle combines dance with dazzling optical illusions: Recreating the optimistic, rebellious spirit of the 1919 Chelsea Arts Club Dazzle Ball at the Royal Albert Hall. The VR experience encourages the audience to dance with the artists, who alternate between virtual and live choreography. In the worlds of the dazzling ball, dancing avatars meet in front of striking black and white backdrops. The British team would like to develop this project during the one-week residency in Marseille. The focus will be on how new forms of expression can enhance the audience experience and increase the audience’s active role in inluencing the interactive storytelling.

VRHAM! invited creative professionals and artists working in the field of interactive art to apply for the first open call within the framework of the EU project REAL-IN to further develop their existing artistic project through the use of 3D scanning technology during a one-week residency in Marseille. The creative team selected by an international jury (Judith Guez/Founder and Curator, Rector VRso Festival; Lilli Paasikivi-Ilves/Artistic Director, Finnish National Opera; Tomás Saraceno/Performance and Installation Artist; and Ulrich Schrauth/Artistic Director, VRHAM!) will present the results of their residency at tthe REAL-IN Convention on 11 June in Hamburg, which will take place parallel to this year’s VRHAM! Festival and will be dedicated to interactive art.


The artists and artistic teams for the VRHAM! FORWARD residencies have been selected: In Mai 2021 Zoe Dihaki and Marina Mersiadou (London) and Gustavo Gomes (Cologne) will continue to develop their projects INHIBITION and VOTARY in collaboration with Institut für Zukunftsforschung  (ITZ) at Zimmertheater Tübingen.

The immersive performance INHIBITION by Zoe Dihaki and Marina Mersiadou is based on Adolfo Bioy Casares’ novel The Invention of Morel, which questions conventional theatre. In their work the artists, who both come from the field of architecture and are researching in the Interactive Architecture Lab at the Bartlett School in London, combine VR technology with multi-layered audio-visual stimuli and biofeedback as a further artistic-technical element. The audience is invited to interrogate their personal reality and to become performers themselves. In the one-week online residency, they want to expand the prototype of INHIBITION, which so far can only be experienced by three participants at a time, test new tools and get into conversation with artists, audience and experts.

In VOTARY by Gustavo Gomes, the idiom “dance around the golden calf” takes on a new meaning. The Brazilian artist, dancer and choreographer, who lives in Cologne, has created a performance installation that converts the biblical verse from the Book of Exodus into binary codes and transfers them into a choreography. The audience will be able to experience the performance as a connection between dance, film and augmented reality via a QR code on their mobile phones. Gustavo Gomes would like to further develop the project during his residency at ITZ in Tübingen. The cooperation partner for the VRHAM! FORWARD residencies is the Institut für theatrale Zukunftsforschung  (ITZ) at Zimmertheater Tübingen. The artistic teams selected by a national jury (Peer Mia Ripberger/Artistic Director at ITZ; Sabrina Schmidt/ Festival Dramaturg, VRHAM; Markus Selg/Artist, Stage Designer, Musician) will present the results at this year’s VRHAM! Festival in Hamburg

VRHAM! FORWARD invites artists, creative teams and experts to experiment with virtual and augmented reality in the field of performing arts, to discuss and discover the current developments. The program supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, includes discourse events, panels, workshops and residencies.

VRHAM! is a partner of the new European network for XR festivals and markets Eurofest XR Network.

The network aims, among other things, to evaluate synergies, promote the exchange of knowledge among each other, provide the best possible distribution of European works and support XR artists and producers.

Ulrich Schrauth: “We strongly believe in the power of networking and cooperation and with joined efforts we are putting XR art and immersive technologies on the agenda across Europe!”

Further members are: Geneva International Film Festival (GIFF), Stereopsia, PiXii Festival, Encounters Film Festival, Virtual Worlds Festival und Les Ailleurs.

For the first time, the 18th Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Kiev will host the VR Doc Lab, a lecture series on VR, from 27 March to 3 April.

European experts will give insights into financing, storytelling and VR technology. VRHAM! is a project partner and was closely involved in the programme’s development. Festival director Ulrich Schrauth will give an overview of the XR festival scene in his lecture on 3 April. VR Doc Lab is organised by the Academy of Visual Arts in Kharkiv.

Further project partners are INVR.SPACE (Berlin), NowHereMedia (Berlin) and Docudays UA (Kiev).


The first VRHAM! open call for the EU-funded project REAL-IN is closed. Creative teams and artists working in the field of interactive art who aim to explore the use of 3D scanning technologies in their already existing or current project were invited to apply until 15 March.

88 projects from 27 countries were submitted. The members of the international jury of experts, Judith Guez (Founder and Curator/ Rector VRso Festival), Lilli Paasikivi-Ilves (Artistic Director/ Finnish National Opera), Tomás Saraceno (Performance and Installation Artist) and Ulrich Schrauth (Artistic Director/ VRHAM! Virtual Reality & Arts Festival), will select an artistic team for the one-week residency in Marseille by the end of March. The winners will receive technical and editorial support from Dark Euphoria and a production budget of 10,000 euros. The first results will be presented at the VRHAM! Festival.

REAL IN is a cross-cultural and cross-sectoral research project by VRHAM! Virtual Reality & Arts Festival (Hamburg), La Manufacture (Avignon), MEET Digital Culture Center (Milan) and ESPRONCEDA Institute of Arts & Culture (Barcelona). Together with the award-winning production company Dark Euphoria (Marseille), the four European partners from the fields of interactive art, theatre, music, Fashion and design want to further develop the use of 3D scanning technology in combination with immersive technologies for the creative industries.

For the new programme VRHAM! FORWARD in cooperation with the Institut für theatrale Zukunftsforschung (ITZ) at the Zimmertheater Tübingen, VRHAM! is looking for artists who are interested in experimenting with virtual and augmented reality in the field of the performing arts for the current festival edition from 4 to 12 June 2021. Two creative teams will have the opportunity to (further) develop their already planned or new immersive projects in one-week residencies at ITZ and to showcase it at this years VRHAM! Festival. The Open Call starts on 3 March 2021. 


VRHAM! invites artists from Europe to explore the possibilities of VR and AR for the performing arts and these technologies can be integrated into performative formats. Already conceptualised projects or artistic works in their intital stages of development are to be continued in a one-week residency at ITZ in between 1 to 16 May 2021. The artistic processes will be accompanied by renowned international mentors. A first project status will be presented at the opening weekend of VRHAM!.

The Open Call starts on 3 March and ends on 31 March 2021.

VRHAM! FORWARD is supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. In cooperation with Institut für theatrale Zukunftsforschung at Zimmertheater Tübingen.

The ITZ (Institut für theatrale Zukunftsforschung) at the Zimmertheater Tübingen stands out through its hybrid form as theatre venue and producing theatre. Its focus on devised theatre and the literature-producing approach on socio-political topics characterizes the ITZ as a model for a municipal theatre of the future. Besides productions with the ITZ ensemble the theatre welcomes international theatre companies such as STEREO AKT (HU), Fräulein Wunder AG and Neue Dringlichkeit (CH) which pursue their artistic work during their residencies in Tübingen. Different discursive formats organized by the theatre are another core component of the development processes and thus, as upstream discourse and exchange platforms, enable content-based and scientifically inspired artistic results of high aesthetic quality.

For the 4th edition of VRHAM! Virtual Reality & Arts Festival, taking place in Hamburg from 4 June to 12 June 2021, we are looking for the latest artistic VR, AR and Mixed Reality projects from all over the world. As one of five partners of the EU project REAL-IN, VRHAM! also calls for applications from individual artists and artist teams who want to explore the possibilities of 3D scanning technology for the development of their projects in a residency. Both Open Calls will start on 1 February 2021.


VRHAM! invites VR artists from all over the world to submit VR, AR and Mixed Reality projects they are currently working on or have recently completed. We accepted installations, 360° films, live performances and interactive works. The selected projects will be presented in the 2021 program, both physically in Hamburg and digitally accessible worldwide. All submitted projects compete for the 5,000 Euro VRHAMMY AWARD, which will be presented by an international jury on the opening night of the festival.

The Open Call starts on 1 February and ends on 28 February 2021.


As one of four partners of the EU project REAL-IN, VRHAM! calls for applications from individual artists and artist teams who want to explore the possibilities of 3D scanning technology for the development of their interactive projects (recently finished or currently in progress) in a weeklong residency. The selected creative team will present the results of the residency during the VRHAM! Festival in Hamburg (4-12 June 2021), both at a conference for the industry and also for the festival audience.

The Open Call starts on 1 February and ends on 15 March 2021.

Within the framework of the EU call for proposals “Bridging Culture and Audiovisual Content through Digital”, the cultural project REAL IN, co-initiated by VRAHM!, has received funding as one of eight projects.

REAL IN is a cross-cultural and cross-sectoral research project of VRHAM! Virtual Reality & Arts Festival (Hamburg), La Manufacture (Avignon), MEET Digital Culture Center (Mailand) and ESPRONCEDA Institute of Arts & Culture (Barcelona).

“We are extremely pleased to receive this funding commitment! This is a great honor, an exciting next step for the VRHAM! Festival. On the initiative of us and ESPRONCEDA from Barcelona, we were able to set up a great project with other partners that will explore and present developments in 3D scanning technologies for artistic and immersive projects across borders and across Europe.”

The four European partners from the fields of interactive arts, theater, music and design, together with the award-winning production company Black Euphoria (Marseille), will further develop the use of 3D scanning technology in combination with immersive technologies for the creative industries to promote new participatory approaches for audiences. With REAL IN, an innovative program of residencies, symposia and workshops will be implemented to present and discuss the prototypes jointly developed by creatives, programmers and creative industry actors at the respective festivals and events.