DKB VR Art Prize

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Artistic Speculations about Today and Tomorrow in the Metaverse


The notion of a better world is closely tied to utopia as a theme. The term literally describes a wonderful place that does not exist. It means that the design for an ideal society is a criticism of the current situation. Utopias are based on questions such as: What happens if we change a couple of rules? How can we live well together? Thus, utopias also inherently have great potential for societal change and visions for a better future.


In this exhibition, the grant winners of the VR ART PRIZE of the DKB in Cooperation with CAA Berlin show how we might be able to deploy new technologies for a more just, multifaceted, and personal coexistence. They are alert to the changes in values and norms currently going on in society and link their speculations to topical debates. With the help of virtual reality and site-specific installations, the artists create accessible, immersive, experiential utopias. They critically speculate upon artificial intelligence, 3D scanning, animation techniques, research in scientific fields, or the metaverse.


Marlene Bart works with digitized natural history artifacts, bringing them to life in virtual worlds and producing a new perspective of our concept of nature. Anan Fries renounces the division between nature and technology to overcome the boundaries between biological genders, creating a world in which all bodies could be pregnant. Rebecca Merlic celebrates the liberation of binary identities, physical transformation, and the diversity of human individuality. Mohsen Hazrati combines figures from Iranian myths and soothsaying traditions with forms of artificial intelligence, altered by the artist to provide us with cryptic advice for our futures. Lauren Moffatt looks at the interior human, gathering data from it via artificial intelligence and combining it with painting to create a multilayered, intimate landscape.


The artists’ unleashed utopias rattle not only societal norms but also the purely profit-oriented use of new technologies. With their radical speculations, they open up new perspectives of our lives, our coexistence. Through their visions, they reinforce the values such as openness, diversity, and tolerance that should characterize our society now and in the future. And it is precisely in that where utopia lies.


The exhibition UNLEASHED UTOPIAS. Artistic Speculations about Today and Tomorrow in the Metaverse, produced by the VR ART PRIZE of the DKB in Cooperation with CAA Berlin, was on display from September 9 through November 5, 2023, at the Haus am Lützowplatz. 


Copyright of all pictures: J. Pegman and selected artists 

Resonant Realities Exhibition catalogue

About the VR ART PRIZE 2021

The VR ART PRIZE awarded by Deutsche Kreditbank (DKB), in cooperation with the Contemporary Arts Alliance (CAA) Berlin, is the first art prize for virtual reality in the field of visual arts with an institutional exhibition in Germany.


The VR ART PRIZE focuses on the artistic potential of new technologies, as well as the exploration and critical analysis of their impact on the individual and society. The prize aims to contribute to the structural establishment of this emerging medium in visual art.


In cooperation with the CAA Berlin, DKB awarded 5 working grants to visual artists who work with virtual reality in 2020: each grant was for a period of 4 months and worth EUR 1,000 per month. As of 16 April 2021 the works of the winning artists have been shown at the exhibition 'Resonant Realities' at Haus am Lützowplatz (HaL) Berlin. 3 VR ART PRIZES have been granted, with a total endowment of EUR 12,000.


The call for participation is closed. Thank you for 104 mind-blowing applications!

Artistic director Tina Sauerlaender


Tina Sauerlaender is artistic director of the VR ART PRIZE by DKB in cooperation with CAA Berlin. She was also artistic director for the 1st edition of VR ART PRIZE and curated the exhibition "Resonant Realities" at Haus am Lützowplatz, Berlin. 


Tina Sauerlaender is an art historian, curator and writer who focuses on the impact of the digital and the internet on individual environments and society as well as on virtual reality in visual arts. She is co-founder and director of the independent exhibition platform peer to space and has been organizing and curating international group exhibitions since 2010, like The Unframed World. Virtual Reality as Artistic Medium for the 21st Century (House of Electronic Arts Basel, 2017). Together with curator Erandy Vergara she developed the exhibition series Critical Approaches in Virtual Reality Art and realized projects like Envisioning the Future. Other World Perspectives in Virtual Reality Art (Halcyon Arts Lab, Washington, DC, 2018) or Speculative Cultures. A Virtual Reality Art Exhibition (Kellen Gallery, Parsons/The New School, New York, 2019).


Tina Sauerlaender, photo by J. Pegman, 2020


shortlist of applicants has been drawn up; the expert jury selected five for the award of one working grant each worth EUR 1,000 per month for the period September to December 2020. The members of the expert jury were: 


  • Sabine Himmelsbach,Director, HeK (House of Electronic Arts Basel)
  • Astrid Kahmke, Director and Curator, Virtual Worlds Festival, Munich
  • Wolf Lieser, Gallery Director, DAM, Berlin
  • Ulrich Schrauth, Artistic Director, VRHAM! Festival, Hamburg
  • Alexandra von Stosch, Co-Founder CAA Berlin / Director Art and Culture, Artprojekt Group, Berlin

5 Nominees for the VR ART PRIZE 2021


Banz & Bowinkel

Giulia Bowinkel, together with Friedemann Banz, form the Berlin-based artist duo Banz & Bowinkel. In their work, Banz & Bowinkel focus on the computer as an everyday device and its influence on human culture. The focus here is on the perception of the world, which people understand as reality and is now simulated via the computer. With their work, Banz & Bowinkel question the concept of simulated reality and thereby human perception of the world in virtual space.



Evelyn Bencicova’s work is never quite what it first appears to be. Her photographs depict meticulously controlled compositions, characterised by an aesthetic sterility, tinged with poetic undertones of timeless desire and longing. Evelyn constructs compelling narrative scenarios that blur the lines between reality, memory, and imagination — ‘fiction based on truth’. Depicting multifaceted representations as illusions, Evelyn plays with the viewer’s perception to entice them into the labyrinth of her imagination. Her disturbingly beautiful visual language and washed-out colour palette, set within curiously symbolic environments, allow for a deep exploration of the themes that take her work and images far beyond what they reveal at first glance.



Detmering combines personal memories with artistic apparatus and philosophical references to create complex media installations. She uses digital media like 3D animations and live simulations, often exhibited in immersive environments consisting of found objects, sculptures, painting, and drawings that are rendered opprobrious within the overall narrative of the installation. In her recent work she tries to blur the fine line between the digital and analog worlds by pushing both to the edge of dissolution. In her search for unknown narratives, she is currently working with virtual reality in combination with artificial intelligence.


Armin Keplinger

Armin Keplinger works with digital image creation, video, and processual installations, as well as kinetic sculptures. He aims to unite audio and visual impulses to one strong immersive stream. Drastic shifts in form, material, time, and dimension and its power to change the perception of the viewers have always fascinated him. With ongoing affirmation, and the use of modern technology in the arts, virtual reality opens up a new stage to realise his ideas very quickly and effectively. As a digital tool that is not dependent of physical laws, it allows for a wide degree of freedom by the full control of light, movement, and scale.

In his artistic output he repetitively establishes dystopian and unsettling scenarios, as well as settings with the potential of obliteration - often with a reduced and minimalistic visual language  that creates a balance between abstraction and realism. Aside from a subconscious reflection of our time, Armin seeks to expose a sublime and monumental beauty that coexists in moments of annihilation. In its exaggerated depiction, he draws inspiration and power from menace - as long as it is experienced from a safe distance.



Lauren Moffatt is an Australian artist working between video, performance and immersive technologies. She explores the invisible aspects of experience and makes them visible and tangible for visitors. In particular she is interested in the transferral of mental space (emotions, memories, imagination) into virtual space. This interest tends to come out as environments that can be inhabited and interacted with on various levels, and she likes to make narratives that occupy both physical and virtual space. Her detailed paradoxical worlds are often populated by misfits, strange devices and artefacts.

Winners of the VR ART PRIZE 2021

On the evening of May 7th 2021, the three winners of the VR ART PRIZE were announced at an award ceremony. The jury, consisting of Dr. Clara Meister (Curatorial Officer, Gropius Bau), Esther Schipper (Founder and CEO Galerie Esther Schipper), Daniel Völzke (Head of Online Editorial Monopol), Jan Walther (Member of the Board, Deutsche Kreditbank AG) and Dr. Marc Wellmann (Artistic Director, Haus am Lützowplatz), selected the three winners of the VR ART PRIZE from the five nominated artistic projects.



Reasoning of the prize jury:


IMAGE TECHNOLOGY ECHOES by Lauren Moffatt captivates the viewer with her multi-layered
installation, an expert interplay between the physical exhibition space and the virtual world. The
ability to experience and immerse oneself in the Moffat’s characters, leads to a reflection on the
possibilities of VR as a medium, and beyond that, to a meditation on interpersonal communication
and individual world views.

APORIA by Patricia Detmering is a poetic work that creates an exciting and unexpected world
that stimulates the viewer‘s thoughts. The artist creates a resonant and immersive experience by
interweaving the virtual world composed of watercolors, with the staging in the exhibition space,
particularly through the use of the stone and the plastic chair on which one takes a seat.

Armin Keplinger uses a minimalist and stringent visual language to create THE ND-SERIAL.
A technically impressive and critical work, it not only addresses the notion of sculpture in physical
and virtual space, but also creates a dystopian and atmospheric environment that defies the laws
of physics.


The artist Tobias Dostal designed a trophy especially for this award, which was presented to the three winners at the award ceremony.

VR ART PRIZE 2023 Shortlist

Thank you for 78 mind-blowing applications! On the shortlist were: 



The winners of the working grants have been selected. Finde more about them here.  


The VR art exhibition "Resonant Realities" was accompanied by an extensive digital and analog program. You can watch here the curator's tour and talk with Lauren Moffatt.  Please switch to the German version for more content in German.