Open City Documentary Festival

7 – 13 September 2022
in London

Expanded Realities Exhibition

Location Festival Hub Studio, Date Event has passed

The Expanded Realities programme seeks to find new pathways for storytelling at the intersection of art and technology. With the digital increasingly ever-present and algorithmic living becoming the norm, artists and filmmakers are grasping the opportunity to challenge our understanding of “reality” and offer audiences a space to enhance, expand and re-evaluate their experience of the world around them. 

This year’s Expanded Realities programme explores the current status of cross-media storytelling with our symposium and exhibition, presented in partnership with Digital Catapult

Expanded Realities Exhibition

The Expanded Realities exhibition platforms a line-up of innovative cross-media projects in our Festival Hub. The exhibition includes a number of interactive installations as well as a 360 Cinema showcasing a selection of virtual reality films. This year’s installations all seek to push the boundaries of our understanding of interaction, connection and space within the digital landscape. 

The exhibition will be open and free to the public and offers an opportunity to experience a breadth of new visions of documentary storytelling. 

Presented in partnership with Digital Catapult.

Booking information

The exhibition is at the Festival Hub (China Exchange, 32A Gerrard Street, London W1D 6JA)

The exhibition is free to attend and will operate an on-site reservation system. You will be able to book individual time slots for interactive projects while our 360 Cinema will offer time slots where you can select a number of experiences. Registration will only be available in person at the Festival Hub.

The exhibition will be open at the following times:

Thu 5 Sep – 11:00 – 17:30
Fri 6 Sep – 11:00 – 17:30
Sat 7 Sep – 11:00 – 18:00
Sun 8 Sep – 11:00 – 16:30
Mon 9 Sep – 11:00 – 17:30
Tues 10 Sep – 11:00 – 14:00

Interactive Projects

Immerse yourself in new worlds with our interactive installations.

Jan Kounen, Molécule, Amaury La Burthe | 2019 | France | 10’
Alone in Greenland, electronic music producer Molécule captures the sounds of the Arctic to compose his next piece. Inspired by this adventure, the -22.7°C VR experience takes you on an initiatory journey at the very origin of musical creation.

Another Dream
Tamara Shogaolu | 2019 | Netherlands, Egypt, USA | 23’
Another Dream, a hybrid animated documentary and VR game, brings the gripping, true love story of an Egyptian lesbian couple to life. Faced with a post-revolution backlash against the LGBTQ community, they escape Cairo to seek asylum and acceptance in the Netherlands. 

Dark Origins: Mephisto (Preview)
Calum Bowden | 2019 | UK | 10’
Life is stranger than it seems. Dark Origins: Mephisto is a VR discovery of lifeforms that live deep inside the earth in an ecosystem thought to be twice the size of the world’s oceans. Dark Origins; Mephisto goes on a journey to unravel scientific mysteries about extremophiles, creatures that thrive without any sunlight, in extreme heat and pressure. 

Universal Everything | 2019 | UK | Runtime varies
Emergence is an open-world environment, expressing the primal desire to maintain your individual identity whilst being part of a crowd. As you immerse yourself in a crowd of thousands, shafts of light beckon you closer. As you touch the light, the environment – its atmosphere, its gravity and the choreography of the crowd – transform in powerful ways, continually challenging your perception. 

Escape Bed
Harriet Horobin-Worley | 2019 | UK | 7’
Sometimes it’s really difficult to get out of bed in the morning… Escape Bed is part point-and-click adventure, part child-like exploration of the liminal space between dreaming and awake. Explore, prod and poke this colourful little vignette until you are ready to throw back the duvet and begin your day.

Kelsey Boncato, Daniel Oldham | 2019 | USA | 8’
FOREST is a meditative immersive media experience in a hand-drawn landscape of ancient bristlecone pine trees, sculpted organic matter, and transmuted earthy-electro sounds.

Stealing Ur Feelings
Noah Levenson | 2019 | USA | 6’
Meet the new AI that knows you better than you know yourself. Stealing Ur Feelings is an augmented reality experience that reveals how your favorite apps can use facial emotion recognition technology to make decisions about your life, promote inequalities, and even destabilize democracy.  

Weightless Bricks Act II: Collaboration
Soft Bodies | 2019 | UK, The Netherlands | 10’
The project will combine mixed-reality experiences, films and drawings to explore future roles of the freelance, remote-access workforce, where home and workplace may become blended into one, as we gain the ability to ‘long-distance space’ through growing virtual technologies.

360 Cinema

Explore new visions in virtual reality filmmaking in our 360 Cinema. 

2nd Step
Joerg Courtial | 2018 | Germany | 11’ 

“2nd Step” is a soaring VR expedition through space – accentuated with the beautiful music of Debussy and Ravel – in which the viewer gets an intense feeling of being in the middle of alien, undiscovered worlds while visiting some of the most thrilling settings of current and future space missions, presented in an unprecedented richness of detail! The film has been produced with expert advice of the European Space Agency.

Das Totale Tanz Theater 360
Interactive Media Foundation, Filmtank | 2019 | Germany | 7’  

A Virtual Reality Dance Experience for Man and Machine, developed by the Interactive Media Foundation and Filmtank, co-created with Artificial Rome on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus. Inspired by Oskar Schlemmer’s stage experiments and Gropius’ idea for the “Total Theatre”, an interdisciplinary team created a virtual world that invites visitors to explore the relationship between man and machine.

The Power of Trees
Zhiyi Zheng, Xinyi Kuang, Ben Huss-Smickler, Jack Reynolds, Dinah Lammiman | 2019 | UK  | 6’ 

In this 360 documentary, you will reach unexpected heights and fully immerse yourself in the life of a tree as seen from a tree canopy. Our tree canopy experience will take visitors to the treetops just before dawn breaks to see the sun rise through the leaves and be immersed in a thrilling soundscape. The sky is filled with the sounds of spring birds and other mammals. You will fly through the Chatsworth Estate, overlooking the forests, the lake, the stately homes… Relax among trees and wildflowers as we transport you to a calming forest. 

Travelling While Black
Roger Ross Williams | 2018 | Canada | 18’

Academy Award winner Roger Ross Williams’ finely observed and crafted visit to Ben’s Chili Bowl, a famed DC restaurant, transforms a central community locale into a symbolic safe space. African American visitors, some of whom lived through segregation, sit and share a moment of honest discussion, reflecting on their experiences of restricted movement and race relations in the U.S. These stories strengthen bonds among communities by bringing hidden histories into our modern collective consciousness. 

Flood Plain
Deniz Tortum | 2018 | Turkey | 12’

A search party searches for someone lost in a forest, in turn becoming lost themselves within the arboreal zone. A half-civilian, half-police force group evacuates the village and the forest for construction, and seek in turn the seekers. An old tree releases a slumbering spell, overtaking everyone within its reach. Selyatağı is built upon the world of Yuva, the Biennale College Cinema feature film.

The Dream of an Autistic Man
Fangcheng Yin, Yuying Chen, Han Yang, Yilun He | 2019 | China | 14’

Tielin Yin is a 34-year old Chinese autistic painter. He is unable to speak and is entirely dependent on his parents, due to a lack of government provision for the disabled. Concerned for his future, his father holds an exhibition of his paintings, hoping to establish a career and a future support structure for Tielin.

Shih-An Chen | 2019 | UK, Taiwan | 9′

On a small volcanic island located southeastern of Taiwan, lives an Austronesian descent- Tao tribe, who relies on the sea for survival. Their annual Flying Fish Festival is an important traditional culture. These islanders have an inseparable relationship with the flying fish, and they are both facing a crisis that seems to be in the offing.