Virtual Reality Experience
Limits of Knowing

Mona el Gammal




© Torben Otten

The 360° movie “RHIZOMAT VR” extends the Narrative Space “RHIZOMAT”, built by the artist Mona el Gammal, from physical into digital space. In the world of “RHIZOMAT VR”, the Institut für Methode (IFM), a global private company, has replaced the state and suppresses and monitors people with the promise of security and stability, down to the minutest areas of their life. The underground group Rhizomat, whose members push ahead in research into an alternative social order in individual cells, as well as organising practical resistance, rebels against the totalitarian IFM. Rhizomat has set itself the task of snatching those whose free will has not been completely extinguished from the dictatorial system. The regular mind control tests by the IFM are used by Rhizomat to set up alliances. Between dystopia and utopia, obedience and freedom, a struggle develops for each individual.

Mona el Gammal’s work is an unusual form of political theatre: without actors, and with a stage that extends into the Internet and virtual space. In winter 2016, visitors were able to explore a dystopian yet very real-looking installation in a former telecommunications office in Palisadenstraße in Berlin that took up several floors. There, in a very individual way, they could discover the traces and evidence of these stories that took place in these rooms and link them. The installation ran for three months 12 hours a day. With the 360 ° movie “RHIZOMAT VR”, this now-defunct space can be entered and seen anywhere.

“RHIZOMAT VR” is the pilot project of a cooperation between ARTE and Berliner Festspiele / Immersion. The film, which was co-produced with INVR.SPACE, explores the artistic potential of connecting theatrical forms with new technological possibilities. At the same time, the film reviews the new medium with criticism and reflection, thereby leading the way to the development of virtual reality as a medium of art. Welcome to the Institut für Methode.

Director, Scenography, Script & Concept: Mona el Gammal
Technical Director & Creative Technologist: Philipp Wenning
Director of Photography: Christian Möller
Executive & Creative Producer: Sönke Kirchhof

With: Rike Will (Ivo Solar), Sascha Sommer (Shevek Puts)
Original voices: Gil Webster, Peter Feltham, Julia Whitham, Richard Doust, Ella Perrin, Amina Nouns

Dramaturgical Consultation: Thomas Fischer, Dr. Thomas Oberender, Carolin Hochleichter, Daniel Richter
Assistant director: Dana Georgiadis
Co-Author / Author Forum: Evol M. Puts
Scenography assistant: Julia Bahn
Scenography construction: Thomas Fischer, Bastian Späth, Martin Heise, Amina Nouns, Hannes Trölsch, Teresa Fischer, Florian Wulff, Line Sexauer
Support: Alexander Mayer, Diana Ròsza, Lara Hofmann, Sarah Haas, Torben Otten, Ida & Ida
Graphic design: Christian Bo Johansen, Rike Will
Make-up artist: Julia Grieshaber
Costume design: Antonia Bitter
Costume design assistant: Luisa Wandschneider

Fraunhofer HHI
Volumetric video supervisor: Ingo Feldmann
Additional supervision: Oliver Schreer, Peter Kauff
Technical concept: Bernd Duckstein
Recording & camera calibration:: Florian Krassow, Michael Reinhardt, Danny Tatzelt, Marcus Zepp
Volumetric data calculation: Narges Baharestani, Thomas Ebner, Aurela Shehu, Sylvain Renault

3D scans: Steffen Sommer
Camera assistant: Jens Hallmann, Kevin Ruhland
Lighting design & Gaffer: Michael Rudolph
Lighting design assistant: Martin Heise, Martin Siemann
Sound design: Tom Förderer, Christian Bo Johansen (Kern)
Re-recording mixing & spatial mixing: Martin Recker
Postproduction supervisor & editor: Philipp Wenning
Assistant editor & VR Graphics: Jessica Zippel
Postproduction stereographer: Sönke Kirchhof
Stitching & Compositing: Ba Linh Vu
Motion Graphics: Tim Stadie
VFX Artist: Chris Blaser
Production management: Maximilian Fleming
Location management: Philipp Eichhorn

Consultation Narrative Space: Penelope Wehrli, Henning Fülle, Marc Poorterman
Co-Author IFM: Juri Padel
Website IFM: Oliver Hardes
Website Rhizomat: Michael Bock
Catering: La Buvette – Philipp Lumpp, Leimann & Georgiadis

Associate producers: Simon Ofenloch (ZDF/ARTE), Kay Meseberg (ARTE360/ARTE G.E.I.E.), Annina Zwettler (ARTE Deutschland), Jochen Werner (Berliner Festspiele)


In co-production with
Berliner Festspiele/Immersion
Logo ZDF in collaboration with    Logo Arte

Supported by
Logo Fraunhofer HHI

„RHIZOMAT VR“ is based on a Narrative Space by Mona el Gammal.
Production Narrative Space: Dana Georgiadis
Hosted by Berliner Festspiele/Immersion

The Narrative Space was supported by

Logo Hauptstadtkulturfonds     Logo Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung     Logo Rudolf Augstein Stiftung

© INVR.SPACE GmbH | Berliner Festspiele/Immersion | ZDF/ARTE 2017