DKB VR Art Prize

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Nominated for VR ART PRIZE 2023



In her work, the artist Rebecca Merlic examines alternative forms of society and considers how social and economic conventions can be changed. Using digital technologies such as 3D scans, she creates new ways to depict diverse identities in a virtual society.


Rebecca Merlic is an artist, an architect, an experimental filmmaker, and an academic assistant on the core team of Experimental Game Cultures at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. She is the winner of the 2020 Marianne von Willemer Prize for Digital Media. Currently, she is a transdisciplinary participant in the European Alliance of Academies: Ignorance is Strength AIR program, in collaboration with the Akademie der Künste (Academy of Art), Berlin and the HDLU (Croatian Association of Artists), Zagreb. Additionally, she is working on the project DigitalHumanism x FutureLiving in collaboration with the Austrian Cultural Forum in Tokyo. 


© Portrait Rebecca Merlic by Anna Manabe

GLITCHBODIES, 2022-ongoing

GLITCHBODIES is an interactive computer game as well as an immersive experience in virtual reality (VR). Here, Merlic draws on the structures of video games, a widespread form of digital entertainment. The artist does research into new forms of feminism, LGBTQ+, and drag society. Using 3D scans, she makes digital avatars for real people, which are then embedded into virtual landscapes. She creates intimate and sensitive images of different individuals, and taken together, they give rise to a diverse society in virtual space. Individual identities become a collective body, a network, which turns the avatars into politically charged bodies that are free of conventions and compulsions (binarity, hierarchies, gender). They are contrasts to the heteronormative and binary avatars that are usually encountered in classic video games. Instead, GLITCHBODIES takes us on a free-flow journey through individual and diverse realities of people who share the notion of “queer” as a political attitude.