Arts / Gaming

This Little Berlin art exhibit is part video-game, part real-life

At first glance, the exhibit appears to be a retrospective of the late new media installation artist Lula Chamberlain. But it gets trickier.

A screencap of the Limits and Demonstrations video game.

What’s the difference between virtual reality and reality itself? That’s one of the questions raised by Limits and Demonstrations, the latest exhibit at Kensington arts collective Little Berlin.

At first glance, the exhibit appears to be a first ever retrospective of the late new media installation artist Lula Chamberlain. But it gets trickier.

Visitors experience two identical versions of the Chamberlain exhibit: a virtual exhibit in the form of a video game from Chicago developers Cardboard Computer, and a “real” exhibit hanging on the walls of Little Berlin. In the video game, visitors get to choose how the characters in the game respond to the art, and then they themselves can walk around the exhibit and talk about the art, if they choose.

The pairing of the video game exhibit and the so-called IRL (in real life, in Internet-speak) exhibit is disorienting and strangely haunting. It’s definitely a headtrip and worth checking out.

The exhibit is open to the public on Oct. 17 and Oct. 24, as part of the Grassroots Game Conference on Oct. 17 at 5:30 and by appointment. Email berlin.little AT for appointments.

Download the Limits and Demonstrations video game for free here.

Here’s Lee Tusman, who helped bring Limits and Demonstrations to Little Berlin, on the exhibit: “Many of us, myself included, live most of our lives online and hyperconnected, never more than a phone away from virtual space and digital visual culture. The exhibit works in both of these realms, the virtual and IRL, and I hope [this] shows their power in very different ways.”

Tusman also worked with Tim Bieniosek from The Hacktory and co-directors of Little Berlin Marshall James Kavanaugh and Patrick Quinn to bring the exhibit to life.

Below, get a feel for the exhibit in this Vine from Tusman’s Twitter.

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