June 09th, 2022 | by Agnese Pietrobon

"Redefining the relationship between IRL, online and VR components" - Ana Brzezińska (Tribeca Immersive)

An exciting new edition of the Tribeca Film Festival kicks off today, with an immersive section that reflects the artistic tradition of this festival, but also looks at the connection between immersive technologies and 'real life', focusing on the accessibility of the works. We spoke about this with Ana Brzezińska, who this year, picking up the splendid legacy left by Loren Hammonds, has taken on the role of curator of the immersive section.

Tribeca Immersive 2022 at the intersection of XR and reality

ANA BRZEZIŃSKA - For years Tribeca’s Immersive showcases have been famous for their artistic quality, social relevance and passion for new ways of storytelling. That is Loren Hammond’s legacy. I hope that this year we will be able to show that we continue this tradition and that we add to it by slightly modifying the structure of the exhibition, and redefining the relationship between IRL, online and VR components. We're becoming a little more accessible, more online-oriented; at the same time we invest plenty in delivering a stunning in-person experience, a massive collective showcase that presents the latest works of both established creators and first time directors. On top of that, we explore the relationship between XR and Games; so there's a lot of things going on in our festival hub this year. 

MOR @ Tribeca Immersive 2020

The main challenge is always the same and it is the question of reading properly the reality that surrounds us. What is it trying to tell us? Are the stories we want to share well timed? How will they resonate with people? Will they help them leave the room in a better condition than when they came in? That’s the kind of question that keeps me awake at night. And of course, the state of the XR market, it’s a recurring theme. Where are we heading to? What can we do to bring more people to our community? How can we merge with other art disciplines in a way that benefits everyone involved?

Connecting the world and audiences to stories and immersive artists

A. B. - This year Tribeca’s Immersive Exhibition is curated thematically. Since early 2022, I’ve been looking at what digital creators have been working on in these past difficult years. Of course, I’ve been tracking certain projects for much longer and was lucky enough to secure these titles to premiere in New York. Before I made the selection I tried to fully understand the key points of interest of the global immersive community. That is how I came up with four thematic pillars of this year’s program: Nature; Society/Identity; Art & Memory; Tomorrow

Similar to how I worked at Kaleidoscope, at Tribeca I keep following the voice of the XR community. My goal as a curator is to capture the zeitgeist of this specific moment in time and to create a bridge between immersive artists and their audience members. Curating means caring, this is the original meaning of the word, and I take it very seriously. When I prepare a showcase I embark on a long journey with a meticulously selected group of people; my mission is to help them complete and amplify their story through the lens that the festival offers. 

EVOLVER @ Tribeca Immersive 2020

On the 2022 immersive lineup

A. B. - I’m amazed how our industry excels in creating multi platform experiences, meaning how immersive artists use so many different mediums and tools to extend their stories. Every project we present at Tribeca has at least two-three components: a VR/AR experience, a physical part like an installation or a book, music, film, NFTs…  It is a common denominator for most of the artists we work with. For me it’s a sign that our creative community is constantly evolving and looking for new ways to expand and study how to offer more to their audience members. Our artists are never satisfied with just one solution - they keep digging until they find the perfect combination of tools that enable them to tell the full story. It’s an amazing and unique quality that I’ve never seen in any other industry.

KUBO WALKS THE CITY @ Tribeca Immersive 2020

XR as a way to revisit our cultural roots

Sooner than later XR, or immersive technology, will be everywhere; it’s a natural process. And it’s not only caused by rapidly developing XR technologies. We are spatial creatures, we operate in 3D environments and the fact that we were taught to think in 2D imagery and linear montage is merely a result of the mass adoption of photography and cinema in the 20th century.

We think we’re moving forward but we’re actually coming back to our cultural roots. We're slowly getting rid of flat screens, a 16:9 frame and a linear montage which may feel natural but at its core is only an illusion created by filmmakers and perfected by advertisement and commercial content creators. We begin to understand depth again. Reality, just as human perception, is made of layers of information locked in space around us. That’s what immersive technology is all about. Bringing information closer to us and making them a part of our everyday lives in a seamless way.


REACHYOU @ Tribeca Immersive 2020

Tribeca Immersive 2022 Full Line-up


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