What defines a city?  
Who are the storytellers of its history? 
How do we shape our identities amidst the dynamic interplay of spatial transformation and personal interactions?
And what role does digital transformation play?

Berlin is a place of constant change – a place where different worlds come together. These different cultural identities broaden horizons and provoke subjective points of view. The history of the city evolves from this intricate urban tapestry.

The URBAN IMMERSION – Gesellschaft, Kunst und Geschichte neu erlebt summit will explore how we can use digital and immersive media, as well as artificial intelligence, to understand new and old narratives of urban history, to make them tangible – and ultimately to shape them ourselves.

In workshops, discussions and interactive sessions, we'll explore these questions with distinguished speakers. Our aim is to foster understanding and empathy for the vast changes taking place in urban environments, and to develop practical proposals for navigating technological advances in society and urban historiography.

Furthermore, we will showcase immersive and digital installations within the historic halls of St. Elisabeth's Church, exploring the the dynamic interaction between analogue history and the digital future.

URBAN IMMERSION – Gesellschaft, Kunst und Geschichte neu erlebt is an event by INVR.SPACE and was awarded a prize by the Senate Department for Economic Affairs, Energy and Public Enterprises as part of the "Innovative Formate 2024" competition.

WEDNESDAY, 05.06.24


Benjamin Busch - Scanning the Horizon: An Immersive Archive

05 – 06.06    WEDNESDAY  – THURSDAY
Elisabeth Kirche, Hauptsaal 

With his interactive Virtual Reality installation, Scanning the Horizon: An Immersive Archive, Benjamin Busch maps out spaces significant to Berlin’s various queer communities. Since 2021, he has visited more than thirty spaces and scanned them using the digital imaging technique of spatial LiDAR scans. The three-dimensional point cloud virtual reality maps of legendary bars like Ficken 3000, the party series Gayhane at SO36, and cultural institutions such as Sonntags-Club, are enhanced with field recordings and audio interviews with their operators, alluding to the many untold stories to which these spaces are home.

Co-presented by Radiance VR.

Christian Vium - 
Tales of a Nomadic City 

05 – 06.06    WEDNESDAY  – THURSDAY
Elisabeth Kirche, Hauptsaal

Tales of a Nomadic City is a long-term collaborative research project spanning two decades. Centred on Nouakchott, the capital city of Mauritania, and its peripheries, it assembles oral histories, vernacular archives, rare archival film and photographs, a feature documentary about the city, as well as a VR experience (made with Mauritanian filmmaker Med Lemine Rajel). The material is progressively given form and published in books, exhibitions, and online, meeting various audiences and inviting people to revise the history of the city.

Project director Christian Vium is Associate Professor in anthropology and a visual artist specialised in co-creative multimodal methodologies and archival research. He has conducted recurrent fieldwork in Nouakchott for two decades and his monograph ‘Ville Nomade’ was awarded the coveted Prix HSBC. 

Tom Korn -
flauschiger Realismus

05 – 06.06    WEDNESDAY  – THURSDAY
Elisabeth Kirche, Hauptsaal 

Tom Korn has long been interested in building structures and facades in his artistic work. In particular, the recurring patterns of hotel buildings and other vacation architecture, detached from their actual purpose, inspire him to create pictorial representations that can unconsciously be reminiscent of constructive or concrete works of art.

This is where his artistic approach is derived from: to depict beauty through the repetition and sequencing of built elements by means of perspective and design.

At the URBAN IMMERSION Summit, Tom Korn will be showing velour carpet collages of European hotel façades. He has been using velour carpet in its infinite range of colors to create collages for a long time. Drawing patterns, cutting carpet, puzzling, gluing - painting with other means. From room-filling works to a series of hundreds of postcards in A6 format, everyday life is translated into artistic works. This handcrafted inlay technique is also applied to PVC floor coverings and real wood veneer.

Mini Hackathon -
AR in Public Space

05.06    WEDNESDAY    10:00 – 13:00 Uhr
Elisabeth Kirche, Nebengebäude

Augmented reality (AR) is a great technology for playing with public space, commenting on it or expanding it with multimedia on initially invisible levels. For example, pioneers in AR art used AR ACTIVISM to initiate discussions about social grievances in public space. A visual and immersive approach using AR can immensely increase accessibility and motivation, especially for participatory processes.

In this hackathon by the AURORA XR School for Artists and the INSPIRER project at HTW Berlin everything revolves around AR apps for public space for three hours! After a short introduction, mixed teams are formed, concepts for simple AR apps in public space are speed-developed and implemented as far as possible with the game engine Unity. AR experts from HTW Berlin will be on hand to advise the teams.

Basic knowledge of Unity is required to participate. Oops, but I don't have that? Then please watch the free video tutorials 6 and 7 of the AURORA XR School for Artists in advance. Also, please install Unity - version 2022.3.9f1 - on your laptop and bring it with you to the hackathon. Depending on the group constellation, the hackathon will be held in German and English.

Cecilia Maas & Iris Rajanayagam -AI and Archiving 

05.06    WEDNESDAY     13:30 – 15:30 Uhr
Elisabeth Kirche, Nebengebäude

In this workshop we will deal with questions of plural memory in times of digitality. What possibilities and potentials does AI offer for the documentation and dissemination of knowledge and marginalized narratives? What pitfalls need to be considered at the same time? How can AI, in conjunction with a critical examination of gaps and omissions in hegemonic historical narratives, contribute to a multidimensional and multi-perspective culture of remembrance and help to break down barriers to access in this context? And what are the limits and obstacles to the use of AI in this context? These and other questions will be addressed and reflected on in the workshop with the help of participatory, activating formats. As part of the discussion of the topic, existing digital archive projects will be presented and discussed in the workshop.

Participation in the workshop is possible without prior knowledge. The workshop will be held in German and partly in English.

The workshop will be led by Cecilia Maas, CEO and founding member of aureka, a company that, among other things, deals with the processing & AI development of multimedia archives in museums, and Iris Rajanayagam, historian and consultant for diversity, intersectionality and decoloniality at the Federal Agency for Civic Education/bpb, in the Department of Civic Education and Plural Democracy.

Quantum Bar - Creating a GPT-3 driven Chatbot for Social VR 

05.06    WEDNESDAY     16:00 – 18:00 Uhr
Elisabeth Kirche, Nebengebäude 

Christina "XaosPrincess" Kinne  will take you on a journey on what technical and ethical implications to consider when creating an AI driven chatbot for social virtual reality while also focusing on conducive immersive design approaches for AI NPCs in particular and virtual environments in general. 

After having worked as a film director and producer with a particular focus on innovative technologies, Christina “XaosPrincess” Kinne has found a new creative home in virtual reality, where she creates content using tools like Gravity Sketch or Tilt Brush, organizes and hosts multiuser gatherings, and evangelizes to the real world by enabling communication between users in real life and VR for educational events. She holds an Art School Diploma in “Feature Film and Television Feature” from HFF Munich and a Master of Arts in “Digital Narratives” from IFS – Internationale Filmschule Koeln, for which she has brought a GPT-3 driven chatbot to life in social VR. Until January 2022 Christina Kinne worked for the social VR platform Tivoli Cloud VR as CMO and Events Manager and currently serves as a guest lecturer for virtual reality at the University of Applied Sciences Fresenius and IFS Internationale Filmschule Koeln while supervising the public release of her MA thesis project QUANTUM BAR.

Friedrich Liechtenstein -
Between Two Plants

05.06    WEDNESDAY     from 6:30 PM
Elisabeth Kirche, Hauptsaal

Join Friedrich Liechtenstein at the URBAN IMMERSION Summit on a journey through his diverse artistic work.

We will ask Friedrich about his experiences as a performer in the city and explore how he rediscovers the history of the city. We'll look at the media that fascinate him and discuss why immersive media is particularly appealing. We'll also draw connections to Berlin's history to understand how immersive media can offer new perspectives on the past.

In this format, Friedrich will share insights into his personal history, including his theatre experiences and encounters in different parts of Berlin. We'll delve into questions of recent cultural history and explore how AI might reshape our perception of the city.

Gain a unique insight into the mind of Friedrich Liechtenstein and expect a stimulating discussion on the pressing issues of our time. The conversation will be hosted by Julia Rommel.

Philipp Johann Thimm -

05.06    WEDNESDAY     from 6:30 PM
Elisabeth Kirche, Hauptsaal

PHILIPP JOHANN THIMM is a musical phenomenon who has implanted parts of his soul on what feels like every other record that has been created in Berlin over the last ten years. Whether as a multi-instrumentalist, composer or producer, you can always hear his heavenly buzz and something abysmal somewhere, or an element that wants to reach for nature and eternity at the same time. This is probably due to the fact that he comes from the Allgäu. He has worked in the studio with Ellen Allien, Moderat, Casper, Haftbefehl, Kraftklub, Jan Blomqvist, Thees Uhlmann, David Lemaitre and many more.

He toured the world with his first band ABBY and was soon taken under the masterful wing of Sascha Ring (Apparat). With Apparat, he created numerous internationally award-winning works such as the album “LP5”, which earned them a Grammy nomination for Best Electronic Album in 2020. With the help of family and friends, he has now created twelve tracks for his first own album. “Birds Singing Till The World Ends” was released on September 8, 2023. 

Philipp Johann Thimm on YouTube.

Palast der Erinnerung & Urban Mindscape

05 – 06.06    WEDNESDAY  – THURSDAY
Elisabeth Kirche, Hauptsaal

1/ The Palace of the Republic is a building and a symbol that now only exists in people's minds. But memories are unreliable, incomplete, sometimes transfiguring. And they can change, and also be altered or completely recreated. In the “Palast der Erinnerung”, people's memories are overlaid with new images and experiences. Artificial neural networks (AI) conceal an infinite number of previously undiscovered images and narratives that test our understanding of truth and our changeable memories. With artistic naivety, this participatory installation poses questions about historical truths, about personal and social history, and about the power of images. Cyberräuber will present their installation at the Urban Immersion Summit, which will open at the Humboldtforum in Berlin on June 15, 2024.

2/ The Urban Mindscape project is a collaborative research study combining neuroscience and architecture through immersive communication tools and cutting-edge technology. Bringing together insights from both fields, the project aims to design improved urban environments based on positive human experiences. The study examines how different modes of urban mobility—walking, cycling, and driving—affect mental well-being. It employs virtual reality within a dome setting, enabling participation from diverse groups, including those who are neurodiverse or have disabilities. By using biometric sensors, eye tracking, and EEG, alongside questionnaires, the project seeks to uncover the intricate impacts of urban travel on mental health. The results will guide interventions and policy changes aimed at improving mental well-being through thoughtful urban planning.

THURSDAY, 06.06.24


Maja Dierich Hoche –
Skulpturale Malerei in VR

06.06    THURSDAY     9:00 – 12:00 Uhr
Elisabeth Kirche, Hauptsaal

Virtual reality (VR) and an associated hybrid living environment will expand design processes in the field of fine art in the coming years. Painting, graphics and sculpture as well as interdisciplinary forms of practice will merge in a highly immersive design process. Digital space has long since conquered art and given rise to new art forms. So what do VR applications look like in the art world?
For the integration of artistic mediation, the task arises of integrating extended virtuality into aesthetic educational processes and understanding these as supplementary approaches and extended possibilities of experience.

The workshop “Sculptural Painting in Virtual Reality” aims to sensitize participants through practical experience and reflection on artistic design in immersive virtual spaces and to enable them to create innovative works of art that can serve as critical reflections on digital modernity.
Entry level: beginner-advanced

Target group: art/culture mediators, designers, (digital) creators. 

Read more.

Dinesh Punni & Anna Punni - immersive Insiders

06.06    THURSDAY     12:30 – 14:00 Uhr
Elisabeth Kirche, Hauptsaal

immersive insiders is an online education platform focused on AR/VR Design and Development. They prepare their students for careers in immersive tech. Beyond our self-paced courses and live classes, they have been fostering an active community of over 30,000 XR enthusiasts on platforms like YouTube and LinkedIn by creating XR-relevant content for over 5 years. They also assist companies in finding suitable XR professionals tailored to their requirements.
In the Workshop the founders team will provide an introduction to XR-Design.

The session is held in English.

Dinesh Punni is an XR Educator, Content Creator, and Public Speaker. He uses his 7+ years industry experience to pave the way for upcoming talents by teaching them how to create immersive experiences on his YouTube channel and immersive insiders, his online education platform.

Anna Punni is a UX Designer at immersive insiders. She has over 6 years of experience with a strong focus on user research and accessibility. At Immersive Insiders, Anna teaches students the key aspects of UX design for XR. 

Projekt INSPIRER x 
Hostile Spaces 

06.06    THURSDAY     14:30 – 17:30 Uhr
Elisabeth Kirche, Hauptsaal

The AR project “from hostile to hospitable” draws attention to hostile architecture in Berlin's urban space: more or less discrete measures of urban design to displace certain groups of people and behaviors. Hostile design includes, for example, armrests on benches that are intended to prevent people from lying down, or devices on potential seating areas that make it impossible to linger there. People experiencing homelessness are particularly affected by this strategic discrimination. The app invites you to discover places with hostile design and to hear from those affected themselves how these measures affect their everyday lives.

As part of the interactive AR session at the Urban Immersion Summit, visitors will have the opportunity to recognize hostile design in urban spaces and replace it with people-friendly, inclusive alternatives.

»from hostile to hospitable« was created in collaboration between the artist Martin Binder, the AURORA XR School of Artists at HTW Berlin and people affected by hostile architecture - supported by homeless organizations such as querstadtein e.V., the Berlin City Mission and UfO - Union for Homeless Rights.

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The "UrbanThe URBAN IMMERSION - Gesellschaft, Kunst und Geschichte neu erlebt summit is an event by INVR.SPACE and was awarded a prize by the 
Senate Department for Economic Affairs, Energy and Public Enterprises as part of the "Innovative Formats" competition.