[Festivals Stories] Patchlab Digital Art Festival / Fundacja Photon

14 Jan 2022

Patchlab Digital Art Festival / Fundacja Photon
8 > 10 October 2021
Kraków, Poland

Digital art, audiovisual performances and concerts, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Art and Science

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In 2020 Patchlab Digital Art Festival pulled off an extraordinary hybrid edition, fully leveraging the latest generation digital tools, such as Virtual and Augmented Reality. Patchlab Festival is designed to reflect the constantly changing influence of technology on society and the environment by means of digital art. We focus on the roles and impact that digital technology has on our everyday lives. We explore its future developments, its multi-dimensionality, its interrelations with the artistic processes.

Due to the pandemic we had to find an alternative format compared to past festival years. We decided to experiment and diversify the programme to provide the festival content in hybrid format. We developed something totally out of the box, that we are the most proud of - art projects as mobile applications that are easy accessible for anyone and anywhere. The app SOL.AR.IS, inspired by the great sci-fi novel written by Stanislaw Lem is an original and unique project that offers interaction in real time through AR technology with ephemeral animated 3D objects. Those are inspired by the fantastic phenomena described in the book: creations of the cytoplasmic, intelligent ocean that covers the planet Solaris.

The project was created in co-operation with CGI artists from Japan, Hungary, New Zealand, Germany and Iran. It’s free and accessible for everyone, despite place and time – downloadable for free from the App Store and Google Play.

Walking has become the most popular physical activity sowe designed the mobile application Krakow ARtour for people in Krakow. Thanks to AR technology, the app turns a regular walk into a multi-layered journey via the trail of the 20th century architecture of Krakow Old Town and enables walkers to discover unknown stories in the context of a sustainable future.

We incorporated the main festival programme in different digital formats. Anyone was able to participate in the streaming programme simply by entering the webpage, but also in Augmented and Virtual Reality at the chosen time and space. The webpage was designed for this purpose – the exhibition in 5 virtual rooms presented over 28 artworks. Among them, the Salon AR hosted 6 audiovisual artworks to be revealed in AR, sitting on your couch at home. In the Salon Virtual Ambient you could experience interactive online installations, 360° animations and immerse in surreal VR video collages.

AR is still a relatively new technology. Surprisingly, most of the artists we invited for this project have never had any experience with it. Therefore they were all very satisfied to get acquainted with a new way of presenting their artworks. In order to showcase AR artworks we used previosuly designed free app PatchlabAR. The pandemic showed the great potential of digital tools in art and culture accessibility and creation. AR technology stays with us and in 2021 we produced an AR city game and we will use it for sure in future projects.

More information: en.patchlab.pl

(General editor: Simon Mundy)