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KIBLIX 2020: Virtual Worlds Now

In line with Kibla's long-term research focus on Extended Reality (XR) technologies, and considering that 2020 is the most "virtual year" to date, the curatorial team consisting of Živa Kleindienst, Tadej Vindiš, Peter Tomaž Dobrila, and Aleksandra Kostič, is for this year’s KIBLIX asking, what are the virtual worlds now?

This is not the question of technology as magic, but the critical evaluation of the intersections and disconnections between the virtual and the physical. On one side, we are faced with a persistent ambition of industry towards persuasive technologies, designing the virtual to fully assume, control, and subsume the physical, while on the other, we are constantly needing to mitigate technological incompatibility with the physical as such. KIBLIX 2020 will therefore place the experience of the human at the centre – with their material limitations and socio-political conditions of the body – while understanding the virtual environments as spaces for speculative realities, variable identities, and ever more acute social transformations.

This year, the KIBLIX International Festival of Arts, Technology and Science, will take on a new hybrid form with pre-events from 24 November onwards, and with a program focus in December 2020 and February 2021. In December, we will start the festival with an online presentation of Kibla's commissions of art research projects by Tanja Vujinović (SI), Untold Garden (Max Čelar (SI), Jakob Skote (SE)) in collaboration with Sebastian Dahlqvist (SE), Mark Farid (UK), Anže Sever (SI) and Valerie Wolf Gang (SI). The program will continue with a series of online panels with international guests, who will from different positions directly respond to the central question of the festival by analyzing the multifaceted nature of contemporary virtual environments in time of COVID-19 pandemic. The first in the series, on the topic of digital intimacy, will be moderated by Ghislaine Boddington (UK), Co-Founder and Creative Director of body>data>space in London. Žiga Pavlovič (SI), Creative Manager of the new Kibla Laboratory for XR technologies KIBLA2LAB, will explore the challenges of XR industry; its research and development processes, the education and staff development. Online panels will continue in January and February 2021, when they will be moderated by Ida Hiršenfelder (SI), Sound Artist and Archivist, and Régine Debatty (BE), Blogger and Founder of We Make Money Not Art. Part of the central event in December will also be the international student KIBLIX Quarantine GameJam, which will prototype creative solutions on how to strengthen social closeness in times of physical distance.

In addition to the main event, an accompanying program will also take place. A series of webinars that will question virtual worlds today through theoretical texts and works of art will be led by curator and critic Irena Borić (SI). The guests of the seminars will be post-media artist Saša Spačal (SI) and artist and activist Selma Selman (BiH / USA). Online workshops of animation and creative computer techniques will be led by multimedia artist Jože Slaček (SI); the workshops will take place in three sets, until 17 December. The December program will complete with online audio-visual performances.

KIBLIX 2020 will, in accordance with the "lock-unlock" possibilities of COVID-19 pandemic, conclude in February 2021 with an international exhibition at KIBLA Portal exhibition space.

KIBLIX 2019 is part of the project RUK (2019—2022). RUK is a network of art and culture research centers on the crossroads of art, science, and technology. In this interdisciplinary triangle, the partners Delavski dom Trbovlje, PiNA and KIBLA on the Trbovlje-Koper-Maribor axis are developing innovative products and services for a humane technology of the future. The project is co-financed by the Republic of Slovenia and the European Union under the European Regional Development Fund.

The full program of KIBLIX 2020 will be published soon.

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