10th edition of the Patchlab GAME OVER Digital Art Festival
October 8-10, 2021

After more than a year of a pandemic life, we are now in a reality where we mainly communicate through technology, and digital culture attracts much more attention than ever. The rules of the world economy have changed, as have social moods and the rules of moving around in public space. Nature also gives us clear signals that it is high time to change the rules on which we operate.

GAME OVER. A certain stage has ended. Time for changes.

This year, during the tenth hybrid edition of the Patchlab festival, we will look at a new, multi-genre medium that combines virtual space with reality: a video game.

Games have accompanied man since the dawn of time. Just as they used to be a way of surviving periods of immobility, they have also allowed us to detach ourselves from a gloomy reality during a pandemic. However, this is a small part of their current social and civilization roles. Today, games have moved far beyond their function purely as an entertainment. They have become a ritual and even a cult object. They are media objects. They have turned commercial devices into tools of artistic expression. Due to their interactivity, they have become one of the most progressive ways of communicating. They creatively combine interactive storytelling with immersion, offering experiences that allow you to immerse yourself in the story. They contain great educational and cognitive possibilities. They explore issues related to simulation and representation. They confront social and ideological problems. They present a creative potential that is far from escapist, while also not avoiding fun. Undoubtedly, they occupy an extremely important place in contemporary digital culture, opening up new perspectives for its development.

Bill Viola, himself a pioneer of video art, attempted to create one of the first experimental games. The project was realized with the Game Innovation Lab of the University of Southern California. The Night Journey is a dark and mystical art game. You will be able to experience it at the exhibition at the Potocki Palace.

Joseph deLappe’s The Elegy GTA USA Gun Homicide project explores the visualization of data using computer games. It draws attention to the number of gun killings in the US in an unusual way. In 2065, Lawrence Lek uses the medium of the game as a thought experiment on the future art history of Sinofuturism, asking whether the thinking values ​​of a Western humanist could be relevant to AI. You will also see these works at this year’s Patchlab festival exhibition.

The games represent closed, autonomous, alternative worlds, reminiscent of those found in science fiction stories. This year we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Stanisław Lem, who, while searching for the rules of the functioning of the world and culture, often resorted to the theory of games, and even envisioned a universe functioning on the rules of a game. In a special band, called Lemosphere, you will be able to experience the unique, interactive project Messages to The Post-Human Earth. The work was inspired by the British collective Anagram by Lem’s proposal to encode information about the stored hazardous nuclear waste in the DNA of trees. This unique project, in the form of an audio experience with elements of augmented reality, was commissioned by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw. You will discover it in pairs – two, two or two – in the Botanical Garden of the Jagiellonian University.

You will take part in the city game E-LEM-ENTS, inspired by the stellar journeys of Ijon Tichy. Especially on the occasion of the centenary of Lem’s birth, the Iranian artist Ali Phi created the project Indefinite Couplet – in the space of the Contemporary Art ARSENAL Gallery in Toronto, as part of the Krakow program Krakow Culture. The world premiere of the work will take place on Saturday, on big screen during AVnight and online, via the PLAY KRAKOW platform.

The Patchlab Festival tries to reflect the constantly changing influence of technology on society and the environment by means of art. With the slogan GAME OVER, we question our dominant position on the planet. The current crises are forcing us to change the way we relate to our natural surroundings. Extreme weather conditions, droughts, fires and viruses are forces of nature that draw our attention to climate change and the effects of human activities. This burning problem is raised by the Japanese artist Ryoichi Kurokawa, who, at an audiovisual concert subassemblies, will present the expressive power of nature, taking over human creations. We will see this spectacular show on the last day of the festival, during a special evening at the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology, where Tatsuru Arai will also perform, creating compositions that allow for a sound experience of part of the nature of the universe.

For people who are not able to join us physically in Krakow, we will make part of the program available online. You will also be able to remotely take part in interactive narrative design workshops conducted by The Kissinger Twins – winners of The Webby Awards – or the author of the VR Noccc project, Weronika Lewandowska, appreciated at Sundance. During the discussion panels you will meet a group of experts and creators of the most interesting art games in the world. You will see animations awarded at Ars Electronica.

But that’s not all. The tenth edition is a jubilee that we wish to celebrate with the audience, artists and friends of the Patchlab festival. In the evenings, we will have fun together in the Hevre + 1 space – the evening program for each day of the festival is available at Festival Club. And what’s more, on Saturday, artists from Toronto, Budapest and Vienna will change this space so that we can immerse ourselves in live audiovisual shows in 360° format during AVnight.

See you in October!