Throwback to the Places _ VR Festival 2021!

From 16 to 18 September, Bochumer Straße in Gelsenkirchen presented itself for the third time as a centre for the German and international VR scene. The wide range of applications showed that VR & AR are increasingly finding their way into our everyday lives. Around 6,000 visitors online and on site experienced extended reality applications from a wide range of fields and exciting speakers and online shows: 

On the very first evening of the Places _ VR Festival, it became clear what the field of Extended Reality is all about: innovation. This was impressively demonstrated by the participants of the Places _ Startup Pitch, who showed with their ideas that a successful implementation of XR technologies requires creative entrepreneurial spirit. In the end, the Bochum-based startup “Digifactura” was able to convince the jury with an application for museums that spatially displays art objects. After the award ceremony, there was time for the other startups to exchange ideas and network in the best festival atmosphere in the courtyard of the festival centre, which remained the hub of the Places _ VR Festival for the next few days.

Not only the Places _ Startup Pitch showed what an important role VR and AR play in art. In the “KauVR”, immersive art was able to unfold freely in a former supermarket on more than 540 square metres and let visitors dive into virtual art worlds with applications by international artists.
Bochumer Straße also became an exhibition space outside the supermarket: with the “Artificial Museum” by the Viennese artist collective “Immersive Insiders”, festival visitors were able to discover impressive AR artworks along Bochumer Straße, which will remain in place beyond the Places _ VR Festival 2021. 

Foto: Ole-Kristian Heyer

Augmented Reality also remained a constant companion during the festival beyond the art. For example, it was possible to create one’s own green vision of the future of Bochumer Straße as part of the “imagine green urban futures” project by lala.ruhr, the start-up cityscaper and the E.ON Foundation. But a look into the past was also possible: with SpotAR, visitors* could explore an old Gelsenkirchen tram through their smartphone.

24 hours of no sleep for a VR prototype: That’s what the participants of the Places _ VR Hackathon have been through. In the arcades of the Wissenschaftspark, four teams worked under high pressure to develop a functioning VR prototype on the topic of cyber security. The fact that the Places _ VR Festival also plays an important role internationally in the VR scene became clear here again: Naoufal Dahouli took almost 1500 km from Barcelona to take part in the Places _ Hackathon.
After 24 hours, all the teams had created a functioning VR prototype, and at the prize-giving ceremony later on, the beaming joy of the participants covered many an eye ring.
The Wissenschaftspark remained the centre of innovation: in the underground car park, universities from all over Germany exhibited their latest VR and AR projects as part of the DIVR Science Award, which were judged by a jury of experts. Interested visitors were also able to try out the applications from fields such as medicine, art and education.

But it wasn’t just the applications that were the focus of the Places _ VR Festival: At the well-attended Places _ Stage or at the panels in the livestream from the Places _ Studio, our speakers gave exciting business insights and background information on current topics from the VR scene in lectures and talks. Anyone who listened here is now up to date on XR!

Foto: Ole-Kristian Heyer

We can say that the Places _ VR Festival was a complete success and, as the #1 VR Festival, makes a big contribution to the fact that XR technologies are increasingly being perceived by the general public. In addition to all the virtual worlds, the focus throughout the festival is always on personal exchange. This became clear again on the last evening, where there was time to get to know each other, exchange ideas and network in the best festival atmosphere in the courtyard of the festival centre.

Foto: Ole-Kristian Heyer