Open City Documentary Festival

7 – 13 September 2022
in London

Expanded Realities Exhibition

Date Event has passed

Our Expanded Realities programme seeks to find new pathways for storytelling at the intersection of art and technology. Traditionally we host a free exhibition during the festival at our Central London Festival Hub, platforming a selection of interactive cross-media installations and VR films from around the world.

For this year’s digital edition we are excited to present a web-based exhibition for the first time. We will host a mix of curated and newly commissioned work from artists and practitioners pushing the boundaries of interactive non-fiction storytelling. The exhibition will be free to access and available internationally from 9th – 15th September. 

View the full microsite here



A Space Journey by Ingvild Isaksen

An interactive scenography that invites you to embody, translate, move, and be moved by your immediate surroundings.

Ingvild Isaksen is a Norwegian multidisciplinary artist investigating ways of using sound and movement to challenge the perspective of our surroundings. Her works often takes place in spaces chosen for their sensoric quality in order to convey an experience. Inspired to collaborate with the audience as much as the performers, she invites the audience to create their own narratives and characters by triggering their imagination.

Ingvild recently graduated with an MA in Scenography from the Norwegian Theatre Academy in Fredrikstad (2020), holds a BA(Hons) in Dance Theatre from Trinity Laban Conservatory of Music & Dance in London(2012) as well as a 2-year curatorial study in fine arts and design from the College of Oslo(2009). She is continuously collaborating with choreographer Masako Matsushita under the name “A MasIng Productions” and is regularly a performer in the interdisciplinary Theater F in Oslo. Ingvild initiated and curates for the site specific festival Sånafest in Norway and was granted a 3-year work scholarship from the Norwegian Art Council in 2015.

2020: State of Exception by Henrietta Williams, Merijn Royaards 

A visual and sonic journey through the heavily controlled landscape of lockdown London during the Covid-19 crisis of 2020. The project sets out to connect viewers across digital space into an experiential understanding of our own bodies and our place within the surveilled city.

Merijn Royaards and Henrietta Williams are artist/researchers whose distinct individual practices and backgrounds converge to create multi-sensory, filmic works that explore the psychological and societal ramifications of sonic warfare, surveillance and states of exception. Their collaborative practice is based on a continual search for multi-sensory interventions that push the envelope of art and research as concept-driven work that exceeds language, though never negates academic rigour and specificity.

They Call Me Asylum Seeker by Tamara Shogaolu 

A web-based interactive experience that follows four LGBTQ people from the Egyptian Revolution in 2011 to the migrant and refugee “crisis” in Europe today. Weaving together an audio documentary with stylized animations, interactive features allow audiences to explore chapters of the story at their own pace. 

They Call Me Asylum Seeker is part of Queer in a Time of Forced Migration, an animated transmedia series that follows the stories of LGBTQ refugees from Egypt, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia across continents and cultures — from the 2011 Revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa region to the world today.

Tamara Shogaolu is the founder and creative director of Ado Ato Pictures. She is an international director and new media artist who strives to share stories across mediums, platforms, and virtual and physical spaces in order to promote cross-cultural understanding and challenge preconceptions. With a track record in featuring her work at film festivals, galleries, and museums worldwide, such as the Tribeca Film Festival, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the National Gallery of Indonesia, her innovative approach to storytelling has led to sources like The Guardian, Forbes Magazine and Vogue naming her as a leader in the field of new and immersive media. She was a 2018 Sundance Institute New Frontier Lab Programs Fellow, a 2019 Gouden Kalf Nominee, a 2020 Creative Capital Award Recipient, and a 2020 Sundance New Frontier John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Grantee. Tamara was a Burton Lewis Endowed Scholar for Directing at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, where she graduated with an MFA. Shogaolu was also a Fulbright Scholar in Egypt, a Luce Scholar in Indonesia, and an Academy Nicholls Fellowship Semifinalist.

Voyages by Chandra Frank / Andrea Zarza Canova

Two interactive multimedia essays exploring stories of place. 

The Song of the Shepherd, by Andrea Zarza Canova

This voyage explores the presence and absence of sound in traditional sheep herding practices in the Basque country. Drawing on artist Nader Koochaki’s singular archive of audiovisual media, the interrelation between flock, shepherd and sheep dog is revealed.

Andrea Zarza Canova is an archivist and curator. She is a curator at the British Library’s sound archive. She also co-runs record label, Mana, which publishes works at the intersection of contemporary and archival sound by artists such as Luc Ferrari, Nicolás Jaar and De Leon. Independently, she has curated exhibitions and listening installations which explore cultural constructs through sound such as in the Meltdown Listening Lounge for David Byrne’s Meltdown Festival (Southbank Centre, London) in Charivaria at CentroCentro (Madrid, Spain), and in All in a Day’s Work at Rhubaba Gallery (Edinburgh, Scotland). She produces a regular show for NTS Radio, highlighting ethnographic sound recordings from the British Library’s collections.

Beneath the Surface: Waterways, Circulation and Glimmers of Place, by Chandra Frank

An experimental essay delving into the Amsterdam canal structures and their resonance for feminist and queer collectives of colour in the 1980s

Chandra Frank is a feminist researcher who works on the intersections of archives, waterways, gender, sexuality and race. Her curatorial practice explores the politics of care, experimental forms of narration, and the colonial grammar embedded within display and exhibition arrangements. Chandra earned a PhD in Media and Communications from Goldsmiths, University of London. She has published in peer-reviewed journals and exhibition catalogues, including Feminist Review, the Small Axe VLOSA catalogue, The Place is Here publication and the collection Tongues. She recently co-edited a special issue on Archives for Feminist Review. Her curated exhibitions include Re(as)sisting Narratives (Amsterdam/Cape Town), Fugitive Desires (London), and Proclamation 73 (Durban) (co-curated with Zara Julius). Chandra curated the 2016 Archives Matter Conference at the Centre for Feminist Research at Goldsmiths. Currently, Chandra is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Charles Phelps Taft Research Centre at the University of Cincinnati.

Arcade by Various

Made with Twine, Bitsy and other open source game-making tools, this collection contains a number of playable works that are available to explore in the browser.

and i made sure to hold your head sideways 

An autobiographical game about my new year’s eve in 2016 made for FLATJAM 2016. 

Jenny Jiao Hsia is an independent game developer who lives and works in New York City. She worked with AP Thomson to make Beglitched, which won Best Student Game at the IGF in 2016. Jenny is currently finishing Consume Me, a personal game about her experience with dieting as a teenager.

Bot Or Not

A chat game where you determine if your counterpart is a human or a bot through a series of exchanges.

FOREIGN OBJECTS is a design and research studio exploring the internet through the production of cultural artifacts. We build environments, tools and discourses that imagine new ways of living with the web. Formed by four foreigners at MIT, the interdisciplinary nature of our work draws on backgrounds in engineering, architecture, web design and conceptual art. Meeting at the intersection of technology, culture and the built environment, our collaboration interrogates the networked world with a curious and critical eye. We work with artists, institutions and organizations to build projects that create more playful, experimental, and meaningful connections between the internet and society. FOREIGN OBJECTS’s work has been presented publicly at The Internet Archive’s Decentralized Web Summit (2018), the New Museum’s cultural incubator (NEW INC. 2019-20) and the Bauhaus-100 Internationales Kolloquium (2019). In 2019 we were recipients of the Mozilla Creative Media Award, for a project exploring the future of human-like chatbots and other autonomous agents in society

Cis Penance: Transgender Lives in Wait

Playable preview of an interactive documentary allowing users to interact with characters based on transgender people from a growing corpus of real-life interviews, portraying experiences of deferment and being in wait.

Zoyander Street is an artist, researcher, and critic, whose practice focuses on videogames, but also involves other forms of media art and (mis)uses of technology. They like to work with toxic garbage, be that through recycling old computers that were destined for landfill, or through recontextualising trauma in history and ethnography.

hilos de una historia

hilos de una historia is an autobiographical vignette game. It serves as an interactive scrapbook that invites players to untangle a collection of the game creator’s personal memories, a history rooted in immigration and trauma that leads to healing and growth.

Emperatriz Ung is a Chinese-Colombian game designer & writer from the American Southwest. Her creative work predominantly explores mental health, teen motherhood, and generational trauma. 

moss as texture as space folding onto itself

peat moss, noise, space, bodies – a digital poem built using microgame tool bitsy

Pol Clarissou is an “artist” working with “digital media”, a goblin on the computer. He is a member of games/art collective Klondike, and his works include videogames Vignettes, Orchids to Dusk, and a variety of freeware interactives. He also likes to print things, sometimes.

Image: They Call Me Asylum Seeker