Somewhere between documentary and performance, Virtual Ritual takes its spectators on a journey through a parallel universe of online video games. Virtual cities offer their users temporary playgrounds where the players can enjoy themselves without the constraints of physical reality.
Not so long ago the world outside, or what we call a city, was a magical space just waiting to be explored. Full of adventurous meetings and random confrontations, the “great outdoors” was still great and urban space was where we felt alive. The times have changed. The important things are happening online. Facing black mirror of our screens, we´ve moved our urban experience into the infinite vastness of virtual realm.
Somewhere between documentary and performance, Virtual Ritual takes its spectators on a journey through a parallel universe of online video games (MMOG). It is an exploration of the digital society, a gaming subculture, formed by millions of people who log into the gaming worlds every day. Virtual cities offer their users temporary playgrounds where the players can enjoy themselves without the constraints of physical reality.
Urban researcher Osamu Okamura, YouTuber Atlet and photographer / gamer Adéla Vosičková: three performers join an expert gaming panel to unpack hidden mechanisms, rules and rituals shaping the seemingly inconsequential weightless universe of online games. But they will not just stop there. Tonight, they will walk out of the virtual gaming microcosm and hit the physical reality with what they have learned. The urban space is waiting and it is time to start playing the game!
“I heard people say that while the moving image had been the right medium for the 20th century, the videogame would be the dominant medium of the 21st. I saw it happening, but I kept wondering why. Why did games speak to people so strongly at this particular moment, and how was this shift going change us?”
Eric Zimmerman & Heather Chaplin, Manifesto: The 21st Century Will Be Defined By Games
“Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game.”
Donald J. Trump, Trump: The Art of the Deal
Jan Mocek’s projects lie on the boundary between theatre and visual art. In his performances, he brings to the table current themes in all of their complexity and ambiguity, but, at the same time, he offers his audience an emotionally atmospheric and strongly sensual experience. He first made an impression with his demanding – for some extremely physical – performance Tanz im Quadrat (2010), for which he received the Project of the Year award at the …příští vlna / next wave… festival. His later urban sound art performance – The Radiant City (2015) – which explored the phenomena of the post-socialist prefabricated panel housing estate, appeared at festivals both in the Czech Republic and abroad (Fast Forward Dresden, for example). Mocek’s dark ambient project, Shadow Meadow (2017), discovers light, sound, and space as the main actors in a theatre performance and his latest Fatherland critically comments on ongoing generational conflict embedded within Czech society. He presents his projects through his own SixHouses production platform.
Concept, directing, set: Jan Mocek
Performers: Osamu Okamura, Adéla Vosičková, Ondřej Pokorný (Atlet)
Artistic collaboration: Irina Andreeva, Sodja Lotker, Táňa Švehlová
Lighting: Patrik Sedlák
Sound: Ladislav Štěrba
Video: Ondřej Pokorný (Atlet), Jan Mocek
Co-produced by Goethe-Institut, Divadlo Archa and SixHouses as part of the Shared Cities: Creative Momentum project.
Financially supported by the Czech Ministry of Culture.
Website Divadlo Archa