DKB VR Art Prize

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Nominated for VR ART PRIZE 2023



Marlene Bart (*1991) lives and works in Berlin. Her practice is situated at the intersection of natural history, anatomy and visual art. Bart is also a researcher and futurist who envisions the possibilities of how a common visual language in art and science could be used to address holistic issues such as the meaning of ordering systems. In her current projects she explores how our relationship to visual taxonomies can be mediated and critiqued via the medium of virtual reality.

In her artistic practice, Bart deals with with the combination of scientific and artistic visual language. Varied use of multimedia techniques (printmaking, artist books, sculptures, taxidermy, installations, VR animations) allows her to combine a wide range of image content in a playful way, referencing the historical dimension of scientific publications whilst placing them firmly in a contemporary context.

Bart studied Fine Art under professor Wolfgang Ellenrieder at the University of Arts in Braunschweig (HBK), the Villa Arson (École nationale supérieure d’art) in Nice and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. She holds a masters degree in Art in Context from the College of Fine Arts Berlin (UdK), has been a docent at the University of Arts in Braunschweig (HBK) between 2017-2020 and at the Bauhaus- University in Weimar between 2020-2021. She is the founder and editor of the transdisciplinary book series "Atlas of Databodies" published by transcript Verlag.


© Portrait Marlene Bart by Rica Rosa

Theatrum Radix, 2022

„Theatrum Radix“ is a transdisciplinary VR experience. It combines historical natural history classification systems and metaphors with the products of contemporary technologies such as CT scanning. Through this connection a change of perspective takes place, as the objects and imagery are re-framed in the form of surreal nature narratives. In this immersive experience, we are literally transported to the inside of  bones or traverse the echos of iridescent wetlands held within the flesh of a dissected frog. The anthropocentric perspective and recieved paradigm of nature is disrupted.


The experience constructs a futuristic and rhizomatic knowledge structure that dissolves boundaries between species and reveals a speculative blueprint for a holistic ordering structure. In its design, "Theatrum Radix" combines the knowledge metaphor of theater with that of an artistic encyclopedia. „Theatrum Radix“ has a total of 7 chapters, which can be entered and explored through artistic and natural history artifacts. In one chapter, for example, viewers can virtually immerse themselves in a glass brain in which bees build neuron-like structures. In another chapter, one finds oneself in a tunnel covered in 16mm film textures dedicated to the theme of metamorphosis or in a seemingly endless theater architecture based on the golden ratio.


An important reference point is the memory theater of Italian philosopher Guilio Camillo (17th Century). Camillo planned a theater in which he could unite the knowledge of the world and the cosmos. It was based on the seven known planets at that time. However, his theater was never physically realized. „Theatrum Radix“ takes up this idea to formulate a critique of the anthropocentric . The work also bridges two- and a three-dimensional knowledge spaces.

In order to realise the complex imagery of the project , specially developed 3D renderings, as well as surface scans and CT scans from the Natural History Museum Berlin were used.


„Theatrum Radix“ playfully opens up a networked view of the handling of zoological objects and encourages us to think of order not as a hierarchical form, but as an organic and evolving network.