Resonating Spaces is the title of the 6th Extended Reality (XR) Exhibition that can be experienced as part of DOK Leipzig from 27 to 31 October. DOK Neuland is setting up nine works as a place of experience in the Museum of Fine Arts (MdbK). For the first time, individual works will also be presented at three additional locations — in the Grassimuseum für Völkerkunde, in the INTERIM of the Cinémathèque and in the foyer of the Schaubühne Lindenfels.

Festival director Christoph Terhechte says: “We are delighted that DOK Neuland will not only be shown at the MdbK, but will also be brought to the individual districts of Leipzig. We want to continue along this path so that a wider audience can experience these formats.”

Nine works in total will be exhibited, including seven VR experiences, a 360° film and a sound installation. One of the XR works is a multiplayer experience controlled by the visitors’ own hands via a camera built into the headset.

Lars Rummel, the curator of DOK Neuland, uses Resonating Spaces to reference sociologist Hartmut Rosa’s theory of resonance. This theory pursues the idea that the accelerating pace of life since the 18th century and the expansion of global reach via the digital realm have led to an alienated experience of the world in which the need for resonant, mutually effective relationships is not satisfied.

DOK Neuland takes up this idea and offers commentary on it: XR creates resonant spaces in a digital format. Lars Rummel says: “We are hijacking Rosa’s theory and formulating an assumption: XR media with their digital narrative strategies can also be resonating spaces. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, we only seemed to scroll endlessly, to empathize emotionally but without activation. However, access to information does not absolve us of social responsibility; rather, it starts there. With the current selection of works, we are providing experiential spaces that activate us emotionally and reveal a different underlying attitude. Let us together find alternatives to acceleration.”

The works selected this year deal with the relationship between open and closed systems, with access to and exclusion from society. They confront the audience with safe spaces, (digital) networks and reconnecting with nature, and allow glimpses into microcosms. They create experiential spaces other than clicking through. After all, as Lars Rummel says: “The world is interconnected, even digitally, but not everyone has the same kind of access. This exhibition will not change that, but it could be a starting point for our visitors.”

The nine works are arranged in three rooms with different themes.

In the first of these, which can be summed up under the dualistic heading “We and Society”, three works are represented. Five protagonists come together in the 360° film “Gimme One”, which deals with the international subculture of the ballroom dancing scene and sheds light on ideas of cultural appropriation and the necessity of safe spaces. The VR work “To Miss the Ending” is about an attempt to upload one’s own consciousness into a kind of cloud. Other protagonists are waiting there to share their memories and stories. The attempt fails; digital refuge leads to an increasing blurring of one’s own memories, which fade and merge with the system. “The Smallest of Worlds – A Social Landscape of Collected Privacy” is designed as a virtual archive that combines scans made by users. The place that was helpful in overcoming isolation can be scanned via mobile phone and thus become part of the archive. Anyone interested is invited via social media to upload pictures to and thus become part of the work.

The adjacent room is used to group together works having the theme of “(Re)connecting with Nature”. The work “Ilios” by Marcel Karnapke and Mika Johnson deals with our relationship to each other, to the world, to the environment and to constant change in the midst of the current pandemic. “Hypha” was created in collaboration with a mushroom activist from Chile. The audience uses a controller to follow the development of a fungus from a spore to the complete mushroom, making clear its essential, yet unseen role in the development and shaping of our ecosystem. “The Shape of Us" uses the new Oculus Quest VR headset. The theme is the destructive influence that humans have on the environment. As a shared ritual, three people come together in parallel in this experience.

A third grouping is made under the heading “Perspective and Journey”. This is an epistemological process, the exploration of which leads to a kind of purification. This becomes tangible, for example, in the work “Locus Solus”, in which a researcher creates inventions in the absence of any moral precepts. He believes that death can be overcome by cloning the brain. “Gravity VR” simulates a supposed weightlessness. Without walls or floors, all objects fall into an immeasurable space. Finally, DOK Neuland also presents a sound installation, a work called “Der Dröhner”, which consists of a wooden crate that each person enters individually. The artist Karl Russell is on site to control the improvised sound collages, which he adapts to the mood of each individual — a kind of analogue VR work, since the story is created entirely in the mind in this whole-body experience.

Instead of being a closed cinema auditorium, DOK Neuland is an open experiential space. In collaboration with the artist Paula Gehrmann, a scenography has been created that suggests footpaths and thought paths for visiting the exhibition and that offers an aid to finding one’s physical location.

The nine works can be seen from 27 to 31 October with free admission and suitable hygiene precautions. Reservations are required. Tickets are available on site. Starting today, early-bird tickets can be booked online via Eventbrite. (

The exhibition in the MdbK and the Grassimuseum für Völkerkunde is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. In the Cinémathèque INTERIM and the Schaubühne Lindenfels, it can be experienced daily from 3 to 8 p.m.

DOK Neuland has been supported by ARTE since its first edition. The European culture channel is committed to using new digital technologies for innovative storytelling. DOK Neuland has partnered with Grover, a Berlin-based technology rental company that has been offering digital artists, filmmakers and designers flexible access to technical equipment since 2017. DOK Neuland is supported by MDR Media. DOK Neuland is part of the DOK young talent programme and is carried out in cooperation with SLM, the Saxon State Authority for Commercial Broadcasting and New Media. As in previous years, the premises are being made available by MdbK. The Grassimuseum für Völkerkunde, the Cinémathèque Leipzig e.V. and the Schaubühne Lindenfels are also providing exhibition spaces. DOK Leipzig also thanks the US Consulate in Leipzig for its support and Sennheiser for the headphones.

An overview of all works in the exhibition can be found here: