Escapist.fbx had its unofficial opening on July 1, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium, during the Covid-19 lockdown and offered to its audience the possibility to witness and explore a new multiverse in today’s Age of Participation.

The Interactive Multimedia VR Installation Escapist.fbx created by Cătălin Bocîrnea, brings together xGens, Millennials and Boomers via a spirited 3-stage Virtual-Reality journey that folds back within itself like a Shakespearean twist.
The performance spurs a roller-coaster of emotions and thoughts, turning the observer into a co-author, mixing reality with the VR that unfolds in real-time and deeply connects real persons with unforgettable 3D animated avatars. Before stepping in, think about this: how easy is it these days for a random adult to freely hang out with a teenager that’s a complete stranger, explore personal spaces together and debate freely?
When can a stranger be afforded within such a meeting, along with the post-spectatorship power to steer that young wholesome vehicle of angst and incipience? Rarely to never, since those boundaries are oozing of taboo.

But right here, yes.

Escapist.fbx teleports the viewer from a Covid-ridden reality full of boundaries into a mirrored virtual geography, then gets blitz-charmed by an avatar’s authenticity to dive into a most unexpected Rabbit hole. VR re-enables the one-on-one personal connection we lack across generations; advice and personal experience shift into action, while the changeling, endearing plot is embedded into the living hypertext of today’s pan-issues (anti-racism, activism, responsibility, coming-of-age, parenthood).

The performance takes a single person at a time through three multimedia installations, in three distinct spaces gradually dialed up in intimacy; is starts from a contemplative position of a witness, graduates into a participatory VR adventure and ends in mind blowing introspection and meta-spectatorship:The questions it raises are tactical but also existential: how far can direct influence, ethics, closeness, innocence and sharp consequence go?

The Journey is lite, hypnotic, beguiling, but becomes morally complex and potentially deadly with its coup at the end and plays out on multiple emotional and cognitive levels.

Note: The installation abides by all the COVID-19 safety protocols of sanitization and social distancing through the structure of one-to-one theater.

Escapist.fbx, Belgium                                                                                             Escapist.fbx, Romania
Created by Cătălin Bocîrnea                                                                           Created by Cătălin Bocîrnea
Produced by RITCS                                                                                                Produced by Mendel Collective
Technical supervision and                                                                                    Music: Men-D
production Anthony Leliaert                                                                          Set design: Florin Terec
Executive Producer                                                                                                  Executive producer: Thomas Mendel
Tim Vermorgen

Performers:                                                                                                              Performers:

Rinaldy Kanguvu                                                                         Crina Andriucă

Axelle Verkempinck                                                                    Cătălina Nichitin

Marie De Buck                                                                              Lorena Copil
Alice De Waele                                                                              Raluca Marina Gheorghiu

                                                                                                          Eszter Román

                                                                                                          Júlia Laczó

                                                                                                                                                                             Video design: Puiac Virgil

                                                                                                                                                                            Videographer: Oscar Ungvári, Puiac Virgil

                                                                                                                                                                           Hungarian Theater of Cluj, Stage crew

                                                                                                                                                                          Sound engineer: Andrei Dican

                                                                                                                                                                          Lights engineer: Sándor Maier

Special thanks to Eric Engels, Bart Capelle, Ruud Gielens, Hendrik De Smedt

With the support of: Madd Electronics Group, 4DPixel, Insomnia Café, Terminus Cluj, Kolozsvári Állami Magyar Színház

Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Mendel Collective 2020