We live in an era where we see the fast-changing trends of new technical terms. The rise and fall of those terms and trends continues even before we actually learn what they are. The value of cryptocurrency abruptly goes up and down repeatedly, and sometimes watching those changing numbers seems unreal as if we are living in virtual reality. Furthermore, the pandemic and climate crisis have shaken the very foundations of existence.
The change might seem dazzling and sometimes confusing, but we can see that digitalization is in progress in all sectors. Films, which have built a vivid image-based storytelling world by chemically stuffing lights and making them into motion pictures, have now entered the stage where light-speed duplication and transmission are possible through a complete digitization process. Even ultra-high-resolution images can be transmitted in less than a minute. We can enjoy them wherever and whenever with an internet connection, even if we don't download them. The excitement of waiting in line at the theater to get movie tickets has gone to the other side of the memory lane. In the era where we exchange data in real-time, stuffed stories seem even more frustrating.
But has the nature of storytelling changed? Are those assets of stories that humankind has accumulated over the years still valid today? Beyond Reality, the XR section of BIFAN, celebrates its seventh anniversary this year and pays special attention to changes in storytelling that constantly adopt new technologies. In the process of transforming into a digital world, we will focus on how the world of stories alters its shape, which we can witness through real-time interactions and exchanges, as well as how the changes in technology and medium lead to changes in identity and the way of communication.
An experience of communication approaching a physically distant being, it could be someone else, or it could be another ‘me’. The target of communication could be a person, or it could be a mass of information that behaves like a human. On the other hand, we would like you to imagine and experience what it's like to be defined as a mass of information. The way of storytelling in the real-time based digital world is certainly different from that of the past. It will be awkward if we adopt the old storytelling techniques as they have been. In the hope that many creators and audiences will discover that point, Beyond Reality presents works seeking to identify boundaries in various formats.
Various XR contents which might be considered as performances, as projection mapping content, or as VR projects that experiments the possibility of various interactive storytelling are ready to meet the audience. We hope this could be the moment to experience how filmmakers expand their dreams rather than feeling devastated how remote these works are from the status quo.
Jay KIM XR Curator, Beyond Reality Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN)
Beyond Reality by the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival welcomes the audience with many attractive and diverse XR contents and events. The adaption of XR technology in artworks has become more popular as it supports the creations in various art forms, from projection mapping to performance, building immersive cosmovisions while following the unfolding stories. Beyond Reality presents programs reflecting the developments and achievements of XR technology that the audience would enjoy beyond expectations and feel mesmerized.
This year, Beyond Reality will spotlight the works of many Korean artists with special exhibitions. Joon-yong Moon presents the world of fantastic shadow projection mapping, Hayoun Kwon guides Seoul in the turmoil period, and Kyungmook Kim unfolds his autobiographical story within a particular place. Furthermore, expanded arts of different shapes and forms, such as augmented reality, performances, games, digital arts, and more, will wake our senses as we meet them in the fresh lights. It will be the moment to experience the digitally defined relationship with other people or “myself” through the experience of communication that transcends physical distance.
Back to Bucheon!
Beyond Reality had to leave its hometown for the last edition due to the pandemic. And now, it makes its return to Bucheon and will be held at two venues, the Korea Manhwa Museum and Hyundai Department Jungdong Store. Numerous events that had been reduced and stagnated during the pandemic will begin to boil again. Please join us for the various programs and events that will make your heart pump again!
As part of the 2022 Science and Cultural Activities Support for the Private Sector project by the Korea Foundation for Science and Creativity(KOFAC), BIFAN selected science-fiction, natural science, and environmental works among the world's leading XR projects. Over 11 days, Various programs based on scientific themes will meet the visitors on the first floor of the Korea Manhwa Museum during the Festival.
*This program is operated with the Science and Technology Promotion Fund and the Lottery Fund. It is supported by the Ministry of Science and ICT and Korea Foundation for the Advancement of Science and Creativity(KOFAC), contributing to the development of science and technology and social value in South Korea.
BIFAN x SANDBOX Immersive Festival
BIFAN and Sandbox Immersive Festival have been closely working together since 2019 as leading XR contents platforms. The two parties will continue their collaboration and especially this year, they are preparing a brand-new multi-device virtual platform covering VR HMDs, PCs, and mobile as well.
BIFAN x Unity Short Film Challenge
Five projects produced from the 2nd BIFAN x Unity Short Film Challenge in 2021 will be presented at the 26th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival's Beyond Reality Exhibition. BIFAN x Unity Short Film Challenge is to incubate young and creative talents jointly hosted by BIFAN and Unity Korea. There will be an announcement of the plan for the next season during the Festival.
The process of accepting and utilizing a new medium could be a complicated and reckless challenge. But BIFAN loves the challenges of young artists and supports them. Please be courageous, do come and show us what you have. Remember, it's okay to be strange!