Possible Worlds…

Possible worlds… is an augmented reality work developed by Oliver Sahli and Chris Salter that explores the 16th century philosopher Giordano Bruno’s proposition that the universe is infinite, animate and populated by innumerable other worlds. Using head-worn technology to blend the physical world with the computer world, the installation taps into the human fascination with creating meaning from patterns such as constellations of stars and planets.

Two visitors at a time wear head mounted displays that allow the real physical environment of the Semper Observatory to mix with animated visions of the cosmos beyond the physical space. At the beginning of the experience, the visitors are confronted with a ghostly apparition of Giordano Bruno created by motion capture that wanders through the observatory space speaking fragments of words from his 1540 treatise “On the Universe and Possible Worlds.” As the figure begins to vanish, the dome of the observatory is overlaid with a vast cosmological universe that the visitors then begin to travel through while lying on their backs. Speeding past stars and planets, asteroids and the still burning remnants of supernovas, the visitors eventually experience entering Gaia BH1, the closest dormant black hole to Earth which is only 1600 light years away but which suddenly becomes alive in the final moments of the work.

Possible Worlds… is the Immersive Arts Space`s contribution to the exhibition Data Alchemy – Observing Patterns from Galileo to AI curated by Liat Grayver (fellow the the Collegium Helveticum) and Adrian Notz (ETH AI Center).

The exhibition can be visited from June 9th to 24th 2023 (Tuesday to Saturday) from 14:00-18:00 at Collegium Helveticum, Semper-Sternwarte

More information [here]

Luzifers Dream: An Immersive Concert

Work number 51 ½ for piano solo: Scene number 1 of the opera SAMSTAG (Saturday) from Stockhausen’s opera cycle LICHT (Light). Stockhausen`s  first playing instruction: “The piano piece XIII should be performed like a magic spook”. Lucifer lies in a trance on a chair while the assistant Majella plays his dream on the piano.

A fever dream.

Lucifer is a drone. Every whistling, singing and tapping of the assistant on the piano is alienated. The Immersive Arts Space is immersed in animations choreographed by artificial intelligence. Concertgoers can move freely in the hall and listen to the various sound events. A game between man and machine, art and artificially generated values.


Piano : Arianna Congedi
Sound design, visuals: Jonas Renato Fuelmann
AI Programming : Yuchen Chang
Mentorship : Philippe Kocher
Musical supervision: Till Fellner
Dramaturgical advice: Annette Uhlen

Further support by : Kristina Jungic, Eric Larrieux, Martin Fröhlich, Marek Lamprecht, Paulina Zybinska, Antonella and Ruggero Congedi, Rama Gottfried, Federico Foderaro, Lara Wedekind, Mischa Cheung, Jean-Christophe Hannig, Hirschmann Foundation, Voice Technologies Switzerland.

DERIVA by Joaquina Salgado

A newly formed collaboration between the Immersive Arts Space and Pro Helvetia South America was launched this year. Within this framework, artists form countries in South America get the chance to do a residency in Switzerland. During this time they have the opportunity to come to ZHdK and work and develop their projects within the Immersive Arts Space.

Joaquina Salgado is a media artist and VJ from Argentina and is currently in Switzerland doing her residency. Her multimedia studies at the Universidad de Artes de La Plata led her to present her work in diverse exhibition contexts such as digital art festivals, night clubs, physical galleries and the metaverse. She has exhibited at festivals such as Mutek and Mirage, and collaborated on projects with Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF). She is also part of Amplify DAI, an international network of women artists and curators working in the digital arts. 

Her current project is called DERIVA. It is an audiovisual performance centered on the playing of cellist Violeta Garcia. With the help of motion capture, the music as well as the movements are transferred into a virtual world, which gives the audience new insights. 

The performance will take place on April 28th 2023, at 16:30 and 18:30 in the Immersive Arts Space. The access is limited, so a registration (free) is recommended. 

Link to registration


On May 4th 2023 the Immersive Arts Space will once again open it`s doors to visitors and participants and showcase the current projects being developed in the lab. The informal event aims to demonstrate the state of the projects and at the same time involve students, artists and visitors to test the expereiences and give feedback.

At this year`s LabInsights we will present the following projects: reconFIGURE (Chris Elvis Leisi, Florian Bruggisser, Chris Salter), Changing Matters (Lorenz Kleiser, Floris Demandt), Digital Gold VR experience (Chris Elvis Leisi) and The Feeling Machine (Manuel Hendry, Norbert Kottmann).

The LabInsights will take place in the Immersive Arts Space (entrance via film gate). No registration is needed.

Atmospheric Forest VR Experience

You are kindly invited to the opening reception of Atmospheric Forest by artists Rasa Smite and Raitis Smite  (RIXC Center for New Media Culture Riga, Latvia), featuring an immersive screening and VR experience, and apéro, taking place on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, 18:15–20.30
in the Immersive Arts Space.

Along with an immersive screening, two headsets will be available for VR experience:
VR1 – for VR short-episodes (ca 5 min) – no registration needed.
VR2 – for VR full-experience (ca 15 min) – please make booking HERE

The VR Experience event is following the public lecture by Rasa Smite On Atmospheric Forest taking place a day before – on Tuesday, March 7th 2023, 17:15-18:30

Kamituga | Digital Gold @ Zurich meets Berlin

Beneath the surface of the global tech industry

Screenshot from the scan of a artisanal mine in Kamituga

The exhibition Kamituga | Digital Gold which was originally created for the exhibition Planet Digital at the Museum für Gestaltung (February to June 2022) will be showcased in an adapted version during the Festival Zurich meets Berlin. From November 3rd to 7th 2022 projects from ETH, University of Zurich, ZHdK and ZHAW will be displayed at the Museum für Naturkunde in the heart of Berlin!

Furthermore, a panel discussion with Gabriel Kamundala (PhD student, Department of Geography UZH) and Florian Bruggisser (Research Associate, ZHdK) hosted by Gayatri Parameswaran (KUSUNDA, NowHere Media) will take place on Saturday, November 4th. During the panel the experts will give insights into the creation of the exhibition and try to give outlooks on what can be done to create a more sustainable, more transparent and social chain of trade and consumption.

For more info go to
www.digital-gold.ch | Zurich meets Berlin | Berlin Science Week

Designing Enactive Co-Presence with Humanlike Characters in Cinematic Contexts

Talk by Pia Tikka (Enactive Virtuality Lab, Tallinn University)
Tuesday, 18th October 2022 @ Research Academy

The scope of technologies available to filmmakers is expanding and apparently opening new avenues of storytelling. My focus is on the application of new findings in the fields of psychophysiological tracking and machine learning in order to create virtual characters, whose behavior resembles that of humans in the most natural ways. 

In this talk Pia Tikka will share some recent updates in this fast developing domain and discuss their possible applications to the co-presence of human participants and humanlike virtual characters in narrative contexts. This  implies a range of multidisciplinary challenges. The core research question is what types of roles can the filmmaker give to machine learning and psycho-physiological tracking in the process of creating humanlike behaviors in narrative settings. The discussion draws from the holistic embodied approach to the mind,  which in my view provides useful explanatory frames for my claims. The talk aims to inspire discussions related to the use of adaptive artificial characters in the future of virtual storytelling.

Pia Tikka is a filmmaker and EU Mobilitas+ Research Professor at the Baltic Film, Media, and Arts School (BFM), Tallinn University. Her filmography includes international film productions, feature films, and interactive VR installations. The founder of the NeuroCine research group and Enactive Virtuality Lab, she has published on the topics of neurocinematics and enactive media, and written the book Enactive Cinema: Simulatorium Eisensteinense (2008). She is Adjunct Professor of New Narrative Media at University of Lapland, fellow in the Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image, and member of the European Film Academy. Currently, she focuses on biosensor-driven virtual storytelling.

Lab Insights

Shifting realities and hands-on experiences in the Immersive Arts Space. (Norbert Kottmann © ZHdK 2022)

On June 29th and 30th, the Immersive Arts Space presented new developments from current projects. Visitors were invited to experience shifting realities with or without Virtual Reality goggles and to learn more about digital gold in our smartphones.
More about the featured research project Shifting Realities.
More about Kamituga | Digital Gold.

Book Launch: Conflict Minerals INC.

Thursday, June 30th, 2022, 16:30 | Immersive Arts Space, ZHdK

The term “conflict minerals” regroups artisanal tin, tantalum (coltan), tungsten and gold originating from war zones in Central Africa. In his book, Christoph N. Vogel tells the story of how well-intended efforts to solve a global problem have led to white-washing and abetting the continued exploitation of Congo’s resource wealth.

Conflict Minerals INC focuses on a topic that is also addressed by a a joint production of the Immersive Arts Space and the Department of Geography of the University of Zurich. The exhibition Kamituga | Digital Gold allows insights behind the shiny surface of the mobile tech industry and invites the visitors to engage with the concrete challenges and living conditions of artisanal gold miners in the region of Kamituga (Democratic Republic of Congo). [more]

No registration is needed. | Location: Immersive Arts Space, 1.J30, entrance via gate to film studio. > See map here.

Immediately after the book launch, visitors can take part in the LabInsights: The Immersive Arts Space presents new developments from current projects. [more]

Lecture by Takashi Ikegami

Tuesday, June 28th, 2022, 17:15–18:30 | Kino Toni, ZHdK

Even now, I am often asked as a scientist”Why do you also do art projects? I wonder why. When I do research on complex systems, there is a lot of fascinating data that I can’t reproduce (I forget the initial values and parameters) when I do computer-based simulation experiments. Science is about reproducibility, and if you do it 10 million times, you want the same event to happen 9999 times; if it happens once in 10,000 times, that’s not science, that’s art. I consider that once-in-a-lifetime interest to be art. This talk will introduce a series of works created since 2005 with a range of collaborators including the composer Keiichiro Shibuya, sound artist evala, and photographer Kenshuu Shintsubo, as well as recent works based on a custom designed android called Alter in order to discuss the meaning, possibility and challenges of the intersection between the arts and the sciences.

Takashi Ikegami is Professor in General Systems Science in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at The University of Tokyo and principle investigator of the Ikegami Lab. He received his PhD in physics from The University of Tokyoand is internationally known for his contributions to the development of complex systems science and artificial life. Some of his results have been published in Life in Motion (Seidosha, 2007) and Between Man and Machine (Kodansha, 2016). He has also been active 2005 in the arts with works such as “Filmachine” (with Keiichiro Shibuya, YCAM, 2006), “Mind Time Machine” (YCAM, 2010), “Long Good bye” (with Kenshu Shimpo, Japan Alps Festa, 2017), “Offloaded Agency” (Barbican, 2019), among many other.

No registration is needed.
Kino Toni, ZHdK, Pfingsweidstrasse 96, 8005 Zürich > See map here.