Over the past years, immersive technologies have been hyped as consumer gadgets, entertainment media and the future of exhibition practices. The free distribution of VR headsets with smartphones and the increasing interest of museums, festivals and other cultural organisers towards ‘immersive digital content’ have quickly turned VR and AR devices and applications into widely recognized cultural artefacts. However, just like many earlier ‘new media’ before them, the hyperbolic promises attached to these technologies’ supposed capacity to deliver immediacy and trigger a paradigm shift in media culture have thus far hardly become reality. Meanwhile, social media platforms enable the formation of communities where members immerse themselves in networks of alternate facts and realities where conspiracy theories thrive in what at times appear to be alternate rationalities.
The group exhibition engages critically with ideas, practices and beliefs of immersion in relation to digital culture and new media. It will run in parallel with this year’s Digital Research in the Humanities & Arts (DRHA) conference, which will address the same theme and take place from 8-10 September.