The technology of extended reality (XR) should have long ago transitioned from a futuristic context into the living room of an average citizen and become a part of our everyday lives. Where are we today in relation to Baudrillard's predictions and the dystopian visions inspired by them, such as in The Matrix? XR may no longer be foreign or distant to us, but the social and ethical questions it and its counterparts, such as the metaverse and video games, raise have never been more relevant. It undeniably impacts the world in which we live and our lives, but we need to ask ourselves how to take the helm and consider if and how we can shape it. How can we become active co-creators of the whole plethora of new realities unfolding before us?

Ticket information:
Single ticket for the exhibition Realities in Transition XR Camp – Extended Worlds (October 24 - 29) - €5
Combined ticket for the Living Systems and Extended Worlds exhibitions - €7
All other events within the programme (workshops, performances, discursive programme) are free of charge.

As part of the European project Realities in Transition, the XR Camp in Zagreb (October 24 - 29, 2023) brings together the core of a new extended reality community. Seven partners from across Europe – Ars Electronica (Linz, AT), Dark Euphoria (Marseille, FR), iMAL – Art Center for digital cultures & technology (Brussels, BE), KONTEJNER (Zagreb, HR), L.E.V. Festival (Gijón, ES), CHRONIQUES, lead partner (Marseille and Aix-en-Provence, FR), and V2_, Lab for the Unstable Media (Rotterdam, NL) – guided by ideas such as open-source technologies, the democratization of technological tools and resources, knowledge sharing, and mutual learning, come together in their ambition to create an inclusive, open, and sustainable XR community.

The project's goal is to explore the potential of XR technology, especially in the artistic and creative sphere, which has always nurtured a critical and reflexive approach to new phenomena. Extended reality tools can serve artists and other creatives in shaping new creative narratives, modes of artistic storytelling, and worldbuilding. KONTEJNER’s program Realities in Transition XR Camp – Extended Worlds brings immersive artistic experiences that open new realms to us but also anchor us in our reality, making us aware of the advantages and risks of this technology and emphasizing the need for its responsible and ethical use.

The hybrid program of the XR camp includes an exhibition, audio-visual and XR performances, numerous workshops, an exciting discursive program, and explores topics such as artificial intelligence, the idea of augmented reality as a new default reality, the use of this technology in education and arts, reimagining public space, expanding the field of performing arts, getting to know established as well as emerging XR artists, and many more. The art projects presented in the exhibition deal with these technologies in various ways, from 3D printing sculptures based on our biometric data to immersion in the world of video games or selling fragments of our own bodies in the form of NFTs. But what they all have in common is a progressive vision of creating new worlds and, essentially, the idea that expanding horizons does not always require VR goggles; sometimes it is enough to look at things through a different 'lens'.

XR technology raises numerous ethical dilemmas, from social (in)equality, the impact on education, threats to privacy and mental health, to all the so-called 'still unknown social risks'. Will we spend our lives glued to screens while the tech giants drain our attention and data? A positive filter could be sought precisely in this alternative XR framework that resists the dominant capitalist paradigm in order to create its own oasis of action. Slavoj Žižek stated in one of his recent texts that besides escaping from reality into fantasy, we have now also started retreating into reality to avoid the devastating truth about the futility of our fantasies. Perhaps the answer to this pessimistic premise lies in a third path – in imagining new, equally real worlds (beyond the fantasy-reality binary) created through joint efforts within a potent, open, and collaborative community.

Ana Bedenko

Curators: Ana Bedenko, Tereza Teklić
Project concept: KONTEJNER | bureau of contemporary art praxis
Production and organisation: KONTEJNER, Tena Kovačić, Nina Maštruko
Exhibition set-up design: William Linn
Technical coordination: Filip Pacak, Andrija Santro
Technical realization: Igor Ivanković, William Linn, Srđan Milanja, Dino Mudrić, Sven Senečić, Domagoj Žunić
Communication, marketing and social media: Inesa Antić, Jadrana Ćurković
Visual identity: kuna zlatica
Photo documentation: Sanja Bistričić Srića
Translation: Andrea Rožić
Thanks to: Luka Antić, Nikola Babić, Igor Dražić, Hangtime Agency, Bojan Horvat, Dražen Karma, Muzej za umjetnost i obrt, Zoran Svrtan, Ana Škegro

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