The NORDMETALL Foundation supports this year’s VRHAM! VIRTUAL edition with the implementation of the accompanying programme. Panels, artist talks and live acts will take place this year in the virtual Museum of Other Realities. An interview with managing director Kirsten Wagner:
VRHAM! VIRTUAL: Is relocating the festival to the virtual world a chance for the future, an example with model character?
KIRSTEN WAGNER: Definitely! The virtual world offers the opportunity to reach new target groups, to enable cooperation across distances and to facilitate participation. We are impressed by how determined the VRHAM! team immediately started looking for alternatives to the planned festival in the Oberhafen here in Hamburg. And we are pleased that the ideas found a correspondingly inspiring echo in its international network. It is precisely this willingness to innovate that we value in our sponsoring partners. The virtual edition will be a laboratory space in which new interactions are made possible and explored. It will also attract many people with whom it would not have been possible to meet in real life. We therefore see it as a great opportunity to enable completely new experiences that will be trend-setting.
VV: Your foundation, too, was quick to react, and set up the »Digital Engagement« workspace in museums as part of the »Das relevante Museum« project. What does this mean in concrete terms?
KW: Together with representatives of other foundations and an outreach expert, we used digital tools to set up a structure in March 2020 that enables knowledge transfer for visitor orientation in the German-speaking museum scene. Currently, almost 70 people are exchanging ideas on what makes a good digital integration of the public possible. International experts also provide specialist impulses and report on opportunities and obstacles. What we started in 2019 in real space will be put into concrete terms in the current digital situation – in a completely collaborative way. We see it as our task to show ways out of uncertainty, to encourage visitors to try something out, and to undauntedly build bridges between the audience and creative artists.
VV: The current situation will have long-term effects on the reception of culture. What does this mean for cultural funding in general and how do you as a foundation react to this development?
KW: Culture needs flexible support now. Physical experience, the moment, the encounter will remain important – but also enabling novelties and experiments. We still want to spark enthusiasm for culture and keep traditional values alive. Culture as the motor of a transforming modern world should be given space. We support this – both in the analogue and the virtual world.