Limits of Knowing
Mona el Gammal
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.