Open City Documentary Festival

7 – 13 September 2022
in London

Expanded Realities Exhibition

Location China Exchange, 32A Gerrard Street, London W1D 6JA, Date Event has passed

This year we will showcase a line-up of innovative and exciting cross-media projects in our Festival Hub. The exhibition will feature three thematic strands (A New Lens, Sonic and Motion) and will feature a variety of VR, immersive and interactive work. The exhibition will be open and free to the public and offers an opportunity to experience a breadth of new visions of documentary storytelling.

Booking information

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:

Wed 5 Sep – 14:00 – 17:00
Thu 6 Sep – 13:00 – 17:00
Fri 7 Sep – 14:00 – 17:00 / 19:00 – 21:00
Sat 8 Sep – 13:00 – 18:00
Sun 9 Sep – 12:00 – 15:00

Presented in partnership with Digital Catapult and Virtual Umbrella.


NeuroexplorerVR (Fifer Garbesi – 20’ – Interactive)

Experience the evolution of the human brain from brainstem to neocortex and stimulate brain function with a virtual brain machine interface, the Neuron Wand.

Directed and Produced by Fifer Garbesi in partnership with Oculus

MANIC-VR (Kalina Bertin, Sandra Rodriguez, Fred Casia, DPT. – 15’ – Interactive)

For the last three years, Kalina’s brother and sister have been calling her – on and off – while undergoing cycling phases of mania, psychosis and depression. MANIC-VR is an extraordinary journey into the exuberant, frightening, beautiful and chaotic world of a bipolar imagination.

An EYESTEELFILM Creative Reality Lab Production
Directed by Kalina Bertin.

Produced by EyeSteel Film Creative Reality Lab & DPT. 

Homestay (Paisley Smith with NFB Interactive + Jam3 – 15’ – Interactive)

Every year, thousands of international students come to Canada to study. Many of them pay rent and live with host families across the country to ensure they make the most of their Canadian experience. Homestay is one family’s story of life with international students and how a complete immersion in another culture can create a collision of expectations.

Creator: Paisley Smith with the National Film Board of Canada Interactive + Jam3 (2017)

Dinner Party (Angel Manuel Soto – 13’ – 360 Cinema)

Dinner Party is a 3D virtual reality experience based on the true story of Betty and Barney Hill, an interracial couple who in 1961 reported the first nationally known UFO abduction. When the Hills were not able to remember and reconcile the details of an inexplicable event, they sought hypnosis. At a dinner party they played their recorded hypnosis to their friends, where viewers experience the separate and radically different accounts of the Hills’ abduction.

Palimpsest (John Russell Beaumont, Haavard Tveito, Takashi Torisu – Runtime TBC – 360 Cinema)

This project explores the idea of an urban palimpsest in the digital age. Using 3D scanning and virtual reality, the project records personal stories and local histories, layering them over the city at a 1:1 scale. Building this collective memory is especially important in areas undergoing dramatic urban redevelopment. This Camden edition of Palimpsest uses the UK High Speed Rail 2 project as a case study. It highlights stories of Camden residents – some of whom will lose their homes and workplaces – and explores how their lives will be transformed.


Micro-Utopia: The Imaginary Potential of Home (Paula Strunden – 7’ – Interactive)

The location-based VR experience proposes an immersive and interactive version of a home, where space is born from the finely-tuned sensorial interplay between the body and physical/virtual objects connected to the Internet of Things. A chair invites us to stay with it for a moment; we crawl through a demanding fireplace; our hands a washed in a bowl of digital liquid. Drawing on radical art practice, interiors in historical painting and contemporary product design, Micro-Utopia is the dream of a house that is nothing but the parameters of our perception triggered through the metaphorical dimension of the objects we interact with on a daily basis.

Celestial Motion (The Guardian – 7’ – 360 Cinema)

Celestial  Motion is a  virtual dance  experience made with  the Alexander Whitley  Dance Company, and in association  with Sadler’s Wells, using a combination  of contemporary dance and motion capture technology  to explore the human relationship with the Sun. In the piece,  users are transported to a cosmic landscape where they are able to  switch between watching dancers in their human form and experiencing  a parallel world where ethereal digital figures perform the same choreography.

Summation of Force (Trent Parke, Narelle Autio & Matthew Bate – 14’ – 360 Cinema)

In a moonlit backyard a mythical game of cricket is being played between two boys. Over the course of the game, we contemplate the physics, motion, pitfalls and beauty of this idiosyncratic sport. Created by Trent Parke and Narelle Autio in collaboration with Matthew Bate, Summation of Force VR is a virtual reinterpretation of their moving image work, placing you inside it. Dark, surreal and exquisitely beautiful, this virtual reality artwork uses cricket as a metaphor for life itself.

Dance Tonite (Jonathan Puckey and Moniker in collaboration with the Data Arts Team – 6’ – 360 Cinema)

Dance Tonite is an ever-changing VR collaboration by LCD Soundsystem and their fans.


Roxham (Michel Huneault – 15’ – Interactive)

This immersive story centres on Roxham Road, a small section of the border where people are arrested and welcomed at the same time. Photographer Michel Huneault documented border interceptions of asylum seekers moving from the United States to Canada and their confusing quest for a safe place.

A National Film Board of Canada production, in collaboration with Le Devoir, Phi Center and Dpt.

VVVR (Plus Four – 5’ – Interactive)

VVVR (Visual Voice Virtual Reality) is a voice controlled tool for self exploration and well being. It combines virtual reality and audio effects to temporarily free the mind from language and cultivate awareness of the present moment. In VVVR two people sit across from one another and are represented in the virtual space with corresponding avatars. When either person makes sound it is translated into glowing geometry that flows from their mouth. The vocal audio is harmonically processed and fed back through the headphones. Its texture and volume determine the look and behavior of the flowing objects. The experience is immersive, entrancing and uniquely playful.

Sanctuaries of Silence (Adam Loften & Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee – 8’ – 360 Cinema)

Silence just might be on the verge of extinction and acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton believes that even the most remote corners of the globe are impacted by noise pollution. In Sanctuaries of Silence, join Hempton on an immersive listening journey into Olympic National Park, one of the quietest places in North America.

¡Viva La Evolución! (Fifer Garbesi – 11’ – 360Cinema)

As American culture streams into Cuba for the first time in 50 years, DJ Joyvan Guevara struggles between the new opportunity for global success and a responsibility to the culture he helped build in the face of commercialization.

Directed and Produced by Fifer Garbesi in conjunction with VR Playhouse

It Must Have Been Dark By Then (Duncan Speakman, Tineke de Meyer – 90’ – Interactive)

It Must Have Been Dark by Then is a book and audio experience that uses a mixture of evocative music, narration and field recording to bring you stories of changing environments, from the swamplands of Louisiana, to empty Latvian villages and the edge of the Tunisian Sahara. Unlike many audio guides, there is no preset route, the software builds a unique map for each person’s experience. It is up to you to choose your own path through the city, connecting the remote to the immediate, the precious to the disappearing.

Make Noise (BBC 2018 produced in cooperation with ANAGRAM, 11′ – Interactive)

Make Noise is a unique virtual reality experience which uses the power of your  voice to smash through the barriers the Suffragettes faced during their fight to win the to vote for women. Make Noise uses original archive material from the Suffragettes to retell the dramatic story of how a few women started one of the most important movements in history.