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.
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
Rinaldy Kanguvu Crina Andriucă
Axelle Verkempinck Cătălina Nichitin
Marie De Buck Lorena Copil Alice De Waele Raluca Marina Gheorghiu
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