GAME OVER. Patchlab Digital Art Festival 2021

The Patchlab Digital Art Festival kicks off on October 8th. The jubilee, tenth edition under the title GAME OVER will last three days, and the events will take place in parallel, stationary in Krakow and online. The program includes, among others an experimental game by the pioneer of video art, Bill Viola, a concert by Ryoichi Kurokawa, a Japanese synesthesia virtuoso, and artworks inspired by Lem’s books: a premiere audiovisual project, realized at the ARSENAL Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto, an city game and an interactive experience at the Botanical Garden of the Jagiellonian University. We will see works by over 32 artists from Poland, Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Belgium, Italy, Hungary, Japan, Iran, Argentina, the United States, Canada and Great Britain.

The title GAME OVER refers to a specific and multi-genre medium that combines virtual and real space – video games. It is difficult to assign contemporary games purely as entertainment these days – they have become almost a ritual or even a cult object, becoming a media object, and often even turning into tools of artistic expression. – Thanks to their interactivity, games have become one of the most progressive methods of communication – says Elwira Wojtunik, Artistic Director of the Patchlab Festival. – They creatively combine interactive storytelling with immersion and offer an immersive experience. The games possess enormous educational and cognitive opportunities, explore issues related to simulation and representation, confront social and ideological problems, and present a creative potential that is far from escapist, while not avoiding fun. Undoubtedly, games occupy an important place in contemporary digital culture, opening up new perspectives for their development – she adds.

At the exhibition at the Potocki Palace, we will see, among others, one of the first experimental art games in history, created by the video-art pioneer Bill Viola (USA) – The Night Journey, made with the Game Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California. You will also be able to play art games designed by Joseph DeLappe (USA), Lawrence Lek (DE), Total Refusal (AT), Andy Kelly (UK) and Tale of Tales (BE). On-line  panel discussions with the participation of experts on the subject, including Isabelle Arvers, Laura Palavecino and creators from the Masterskaya 15 studio in Moscow, will also be devoted to non-typical gaming projects.

To honour the 100th birthday of Stanisław Lem, who often used game theory in his stories, the Patchlab Festival has prepared a special section entitled Lemosphere. You will be able to participate in the interactive project Messages to The Post-Human Earth, intended to be experienced in pairs. The work was inspired by Lem’s proposal to encode information about the stored hazardous nuclear waste in the DNA of trees. This unique project, in the form of an audio experience with elements of augmented reality, was created by the British art group  Anagram and commissioned by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw, being premiered at the Botanical Gardens of the Jagiellonian University. Citylights in the space of the Krakow Old Town will become the board of the city game E-LEM-ENTS, inspired by Ijon Tichy’s stellars journeys. A special audiovisual project by the Iranian artist Ali Phi entitled Indefinite Couplet, that was realized in cooperation with the Contemporary Art ARSENAL Gallery in Toronto will be streamed via PLAY KRAKOW online platform.

The title of the 10th edition – GAME OVER – also questions our dominant position on the planet. The pandemic and extreme weather conditions are drawing our attention to climate change and the effects of human activities. This thread will appear, among others in the subassemblies audiovisual concert by Japanese artist Ryoichi Kurokawa, in which the artist presents the power of nature that takes over human creations. We will see this spectacular show on the last day of the festival, during a special evening at the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology, where Tatsuru Arai will also perform, creating compositions that allow for a sound experience of part of the nature of the universe.

In the space of Hevre+1, during the AVnight, we will immerse ourselves in three audiovisual performances, performed live by artists from Toronto, Budapest and Vienna. The program will also include animations awarded at Ars Electronica in Linz. For those who cannot be in Krakow, part of the program will be available online. You will be able to remotely participate in expert panel discussions on art games and in three workshops on interactive storytelling design run by The Kissinger Twins – winners of The Webby Awards – or the author of the VR Noccc project, Weronika Lewandowska, distinguished at the Sundance Film Festival.

The detailed program of the 10th edition of the Patchlab Festival can be found at

atchlab Digital Art Festival is dedicated to creativity that is based on the latest technologies and creative programming. The organizer is the Photon Foundation. The Patchlab festival was awarded with the EFFE 2019-2021 label by the European Festivals Association (EFA) for its unique and innovative approach, contribution to art, social commitment and international openness.

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