DKB VR Art Prize

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VR ART PRIZE 2023 Virtual Utopias

The theme for the VR ART PRIZE 2023 is ‘Virtual Utopias’

 

The rapid advancement of digitalisation is expanding the way we explore art by creating new virtual spaces in which artistic works can be experienced digitally, alongside analogue ones. With virtual reality technology, artists can imagine alternative utopian scenarios in a virtual space. Different societal realities are reflected and made tangible. This opens up new realms of possibility, offering moments of escape from everyday worries and constraints.

 

Crises such as climate breakdown, pandemics and wars instil fear, but artistic ideas can offer a way into the future. They carry the potential for change, and draw speculative alternatives to the "here and now". How can our world be made more sustainable, socially just, and peaceful? How can technology help to create a better society? And how does the way we experience art, communicate, and coexist change as we increasingly move within the digital space?

 

Through the increased use of VR technologies and our departure into the metaverse – the digital extension of our physical reality –, virtual worlds become part of our present. How will the imagined utopias of virtual reality interconnect with physical actuality?

 

The VR ART PRIZE 2023 is aimed at artists who use virtual reality and spatial installations to create visions for social change. 

 

About VR ART PRIZE

The VR ART PRIZE awarded by Deutsche Kreditbank (DKB), in cooperation with the Contemporary Arts Alliance (CAA) Berlin, is the first art prize for virtual reality in the field of visual arts with an institutional exhibition in Germany.

 

The VR ART PRIZE focuses on the artistic potential of new technologies, as well as the exploration and critical analysis of their impact on the individual and society. The prize aims to contribute to the structural establishment of this emerging medium in visual art.

 

In cooperation with the CAA Berlin, DKB awards 5 working grants to visual artists who work with virtual reality in 2023: each grant is for a period of 4 months and worth EUR 1,000 per month. In September and October 2023 the works of the winning artists will be shown at an exhibition at Haus am Lützowplatz (HaL) Berlin. 3 VR ART PRIZES will be granted, with a total endowment of EUR 12,000.

VR ART PRIZE 2023 Shortlist

Thank you for 78 mind-blowing applications! On the shortlist are: 

 

 

The winners of the working grants will be selected and announced at the end of february 2023. 

Artistic director Tina Sauerlaender

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Tina Sauerlaender is artistic director of the VR ART PRIZE by DKB in cooperation with CAA Berlin. She was also artistic director for the 1st edition of VR ART PRIZE and curated the exhibition "Resonant Realities" at Haus am Lützowplatz, Berlin. 

 

Tina Sauerlaender is an art historian, curator and writer who focuses on the impact of the digital and the internet on individual environments and society as well as on virtual reality in visual arts. She is co-founder and director of the independent exhibition platform peer to space and has been organizing and curating international group exhibitions since 2010, like The Unframed World. Virtual Reality as Artistic Medium for the 21st Century (House of Electronic Arts Basel, 2017). Together with curator Erandy Vergara she developed the exhibition series Critical Approaches in Virtual Reality Art and realized projects like Envisioning the Future. Other World Perspectives in Virtual Reality Art (Halcyon Arts Lab, Washington, DC, 2018) or Speculative Cultures. A Virtual Reality Art Exhibition (Kellen Gallery, Parsons/The New School, New York, 2019).

 

Tina Sauerlaender, photo by J. Pegman, 2020

Members of the Expert Jury

shortlist of applicants will be drawn up; the expert jury selects of the shortlisted artists five for the award of one working grant each worth EUR 1,000 per month for the period April to Juli 2023. The members of the expert jury are: 

 

  • Emma Enderby, Head of Programmes and Research, Chief Curator, Haus der Kunst, Munich

  • Sabiha Keyif, Curator & Project Manager, Head of exhibitions abroad, ifa - Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen

  • Nadim Samman, Curator for the Digital Sphere, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin

  • Ulrich Schrauth, Artistic Director, VRHAM! Virtual Reality & Arts Festival, Hamburg, and XR & Immersive Programmer, British Film Institute (BFI) and the London Film Festival

  • Dr. Alexandra von Stosch, Co-Founder & Board Member CAA Berlin gGmbH, and Managing Director of Artprojekt Entwicklungen GmbH

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EmmaEnderby

Emma Enderby is a curator, writer, and lecturer of modern and contemporary art. She is currently the Head of Programmes and Research, Chief Curator at Haus der Kunst, Munich, and the Curator-at-large at The Shed, where she was previously the Chief Curator. Previously she worked as a curator for the Public Art Fund, NY and the Serpentine Galleries, London. She also worked in exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Arts and the Whitechapel Gallery, as well as in Public Programs at The National Portrait Gallery, London and the Museum of Modern Art, NY. Enderby has been a visiting lecturer, critic, and speaker at a number of universities and institutions, as well as edited and written for various books and catalogues.

 

© Portrait Emma Enderby by Bastian Thiery

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SabihaKeyif

Sabiha Keyif coordinates and develops international exhibitions and formats for the Art Department at ifa, the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, as Project Director (since 2018) and Division Director (since 2022). She has also been Deputy Head of the Art Department and Head of Touring Exhibitions at ifa since 2022. She studied art theory and aesthetics at the HBK Braunschweig and worked as a curator and research assistant at the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe from 2013 to 2017. In 2017, she organized the conference "Under the Mango Tree" as part of the documenta 14 (2017) and received a curatorial grant from the Goethe Institute for a residency in Jakarta. In 2018 she supervised the funding program "Digital Ways into the Museum" (2018) for the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden. In her work, she deals predominantly with socially relevant issues and the influence of the digital on our society and everyday life. For several years her work has also focused on the development of new digital projects and exhibition formats in addition to traditional (physical) exhibitions. For ifa, she has conceived and realized the ifa art department’s "ifa Agora – Art Collection Online, Network and Archive" (agora.ifa.de) and is primarily responsible for the web-based exhibition projects areyouforreal.ifa.de  and dreamingbeyond.ai

 

© Portrait Sabiha Keyif by Harald Voelkl

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Nadim Samman

Nadim Samman read Philosophy at University College London before receiving his PhD from the Courtauld Institute of Art. He was Co-Director of Import Projects e.V. in Berlin from 2012 to 2019 and, concurrently, Curator at Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna (2013-2015). He curated the 4th Marrakech Biennale (with Carson Chan) in 2012, and the 5th Moscow Biennale for Young Art in 2015. He co-founded and co-curated the 1st Antarctic Biennale (2017) and the Antarctic Pavilion (Venice, 2015-). In 2014 Foreign Policy Magazine named him among the ‘100 Leading Global Thinkers’. Widely published, in 2019 he was First Prize recipient of the International Award for Art Criticism (IAAC). He is currently Curator for the Digital Sphere at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin.

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UlrichSchrauth

‘What is extraordinary about virtual reality art? The spectator becomes the centre of an artistic experience. You don’t look at a work of art from a distance anymore, you are situated right in the middle of it. “Go in instead of look at” was what the U.S. performance artist Allan Kaprow said, and this sums up the experience.’

 

Ulrich Schrauth is an international curator, creative director and artist working in the field of immersive media. His posts include artistic director for VRHAM! Festival Virtual Reality & Arts Hamburg as well as XR & Immersive Programmer for the British Film Institute (BFI) and the London Film Festival. In addition to that, he oversees many international projects with virtual, augmented and mixed reality, and acts as a speaker, moderator and jury member in this field.

 

© portrait Ulrich Schrauth by Catrin-Anja Eichinger

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Alexandravon Stosch

‘Virtual reality exists only because the viewer sees it. It offers, unlike the encounter with art in real space, a holistic experience. The immersive experience within an individual and interactive world enables a new sensual perception beyond the market-driven object fetishism, and thus stands for a new concept of art.’

 

Alexandra von Stosch is an author, curator and lecturer with a doctoral degree in art history. After graduating from the Sorbonne in Paris, she was responsible for national art-in-architecture projects, as well as for the art collection of the Société Générale, La Défense. From 1997 to 2001, she founded and directed the International Centre for Curatorial Studies in New York. In Berlin she was co-founder of the Contemporary Arts Alliance Berlin, supporting talents in the fields of fine arts, dancing, music and drama. Among other things, she taught at Humboldt University, and since 2017 at the Barenboim Said Academy. Furthermore, Alexan­dra von Stosch is a member of the board at Villa Aurora/Thomas Mann House e.V., at Stadt­museum Berlin, on the scientific board of Berlinische Galerie, as well as an art juror. In 2015, she founded Bauhaus Council Berlin e.V., a platform for future discourse for the Bauhaus Archives. Since March 2017, she heads the Art & Culture Department of the Artprojekt Group and has been a member of the Executive Board since January 2019 and managing director as well as speaker of the company group since 2021.

 

ABOUT VR ART

Virtual reality is still young as an artistic medium, yet it is developing very quickly thanks to a generation of artists who are eager to experiment. For the first time in art history, visual artists can create fully immersive illusionary spaces. They are working in a context in which physical laws, such as gravity, do not apply. Materiality, movement, and spatiality can all be completely reimagined in this new realm, which is what makes VR art so exciting.

 

Being immersed in art enables viewers to gain insights into their own existence - both in relation to themselves and to the greater society. Reality is what the eye can see. For this reason, in the VR art exhibition the VR works are embedded in large, site-specific installations and the artists’ virtual ideas find an echo in the real exhibition space. In this setting, visitors can exchange and discuss their impressions.

 

The first wave of VR art already took place in the 1980s. Back then, artists like Jenny Holzer or Matt Mullican began experimenting with the new medium. However, the high computing power needed to produce VR art was only possible using relatively complex and unwieldy hardware. VR art is only now experiencing a major upswing due to a series of developments: a new generation of easy-to-use VR glasses can display complex image worlds with high computing power, artists have easier access to programmers, and VR glasses have already arrived in the living rooms of some viewers via gaming.