This year’s Film Fund DocLab Interactive Grant goes to the interactive artworks [Posthuman Wombs] by Anna Fries and Malu Peeters and Disarmed by Alexandra Barancová, Jae Perris, and Moniker. Each project will receive a development contribution of €10,000 and will premiere at IDFA DocLab 2021 in November. With the grant, awarded for the fifth time this year, the Netherlands Film Fund and the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam support the realization of innovative artistic projects with international potential.
[Posthuman Wombs] creates a speculative world where all bodies can be pregnant. The work explores non-normative pregnant bodies, aiming to reshape the dominant image of pregnancy: the ever smiling pregnant cis-woman, an image that performance artist Anna Fries was at odds with during their own pregnancy. Together with sound artist Malu Peeters, Fries started a series of artistic projects to de-romanticize and de-feminize pregnancy, leading to the creation of [Posthuman Wombs]. The project, which can be seen for the first time during IDFA, multiple visitors simultaneously enter an immersive installation consisting of a spatial soundscape and VR.
Amidst the growing popularity of motion-based technologies such as VR, artists Alexandra Barancová, Jae Perris, and Moniker question the commodification of movement. In Disarmed, they allow visitors to experience the physical limits of their bodies in a new way, offering a virtual, tactile experience that shows the movements our bodies make are no longer primarily of value to ourselves. Is this my arm? Are these my movements? Disarmed is part of the research project Figureable, which explores physicality and movement through video games and virtual spaces.
Every year, the Netherlands Film Fund and IDFA DocLab support the realization of innovative artistic projects that enable a collective experience and have international potential. Artists who previously received the grant include Sanne De Wilde, Ali Eslami, Anagram, the Smartphone Orchestra, Klasien van de Zandschulp, and Emily Baltz. After premiering at IDFA DocLab, several of the supported projects have since found a platform at prestigious international venues such as MoMA, SXSW, Sundance, Holland Festival, and CPH:DOX.
The number of submissions was once again higher this year, demonstrating that the immersive and interactive field is only growing in the Netherlands. The Film Fund and IDFA DocLab are delighted to see that a new generation of artists are moving freely between different art disciplines, confronting and stimulating audiences with the possibilities of interactive and immersive media and new storytelling techniques.
Performance artist Anna Fries and sound artist Malu Peeters have long collaborated within game collective machina eX and feminist performance collective Henrike Iglesias. Anna Fries is co-founder of both collectives and was artistic director of machina eX from 2012 to 2017. Malu Peeters creates (spatial) sound and electronic music for film, installations, theater, radio, and XR projects. The two are passionate about virtual possibilities, immersive experiments, and the creation of spaces, in which they sensitively take an audience into unknown worlds. Both work and live in Berlin and Amsterdam.
Disarmed was made by Alexandra Barancová, Jae Perris, and Moniker and was realized in part with support from the Creative Industries Fund. Barancová is an artist and researcher with a background in politics, heritage, and digital culture. Her work is based on a fascination with the way digital media change our conceptions of our realities. Perris is an artist and programmer with a background in robotics, game development, and engineering. He has worked in and with startups doing product development. Luna Maurer and Roel Wouters are the creative directors and co-founders of Amsterdam-based Moniker, in which they explore the characteristics of technology and how it affects our daily lives. Moniker has won many awards, including a British Music Video Award, a Webby, several Dutch Design Awards, and the Amsterdam Prize for the Arts. IDFA DocLab has presented several projects by Moniker in the past, including Clickclickclick.click, the interactive music video Do Not Touch, and the live performance Red Follows Yellow Follows Blue Follows Red.
Featured still: [Posthuman Wombs] by Anna Fries and Malu Peeters.
IDFA DocLab is supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy of the Netherlands, CLICKNL, Gieskes-Strijbis Fonds, Netherlands Film Fund, Flanders Audiovisual Fund, VIVE, VIVEPORT, and Special Friends+.
DocLab research collaboration partners include MIT Open Documentary Lab, Beeld en Geluid, ARTIS-Planetarium, CreativeXR, Diversion cinema, Het Nieuwe Instituut, POPKRAFT, The Immersive Storytelling Studio (National Theatre), Tolhuistuin, Cie Gilles Jobin, National Film Board of Canada, and Submarine Channel.