HYBRID BOX – Modular Gallery for Digital Arts

10.09.2023 – 01.10.2023 Total Refusal – Hardly Working

The four-channel video installation foregrounds characters that normally take a back seat in video games: NPCs (“non-playable characters”) are non-playable characters that populate hyperreal worlds to create the appearance of normality. Normally, these digital extras do not play a major role in the story of the game in question. In Hardly Working, however, a washerwoman, a stablehand, a street sweeper, and a handyman from the computer game “Red Dead Redemption 2” become the main characters. With ethnographic precision, the four films observe their daily work: a rhythm of endless loops that makes them work daily and tirelessly.

Following Hannah Arendt’s description of the “animal laborans” – as opposed to the acting subject – the NPCs as individuals are an exaggeration, as their work merely manifests their status. NPCs perform so-called “surrogate actions” that provide no further social benefit. Rather, their actions are performed and enforced for the sake of appearances, thus maintaining a social order. NPCs are digital Sisyphus machines that have no perspective of breaking out of their action loops. In the moments when the algorithm of their existence shows inconsistencies, the NPCs break out of the logic of that total normality and show their own defectiveness, thus appearing touchingly human.

Duration of the installation: 06.07. – 04.09., one hour before and after the events in the Festspielhaus.


Total Refusal, a collective of artists, researchers and filmmakers Susannna Flock, Adrian Haim, Jona Kleinlein, Robin Klengel, Leonhard Müllner and Michael Stumpf, intervenes as a pseudo-Marxist media guerrilla in current video games and publishes texts about games and politics. The open collective critiques existing games practices and opens a new perspective on the genre with tools of appropriation and repurposing of game resources.

Since its inception in 2018, the collective’s work has won numerous awards and been presented at more than 130 international film and video festivals and numerous exhibitions, including Berlinale, BFI London, Doc Fortnight at MoMA, NY, HEK Basel, Ars Electronica, and Venice Biennale 2021.

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Text, direction and concept: Susanna Flock, Robin Klengel, Leonhard Müllner, Michael Stumpf
Music: Adrian Haim
Narration: Jacob Banigan and Lorenz Kabas
Lead Editing: Robin Klengel, Additional Editing: Susanna Flock, Leonhard Müllner
Camera: Robin Klengel, Leonhard Müllner
Modding: RCPisAwesome
Cast: A_F_M_Asbtownfolk_02 as “The Street Sweeper”, A_F_M_SDSlums_02 as “The Laundress”, A_M_M_NBXDockworkers_01 as “The Carpenter”, A_M_M_VALLaborer_01 as “The Stablehand”.

The work was realized as part of the European Media Art Platforms Residency Program at Werkleitz with support from the Creative Europe Culture Program of the European Union and in co-production with Kunsthaus Graz. Co-financed by Land Steiermark and the Kunstraum Steiermark Stipend. 

Future events



The multimedia installation is based on the iBorderCtrl software, a kind of lie detector for evaluating microexpressions on the faces of migrants entering the EU. In “The Irresistible Powers of Silent Talking”, Andrius Arutiunian manipulates this artificial intelligence-based system and questions the concept of border violence.

Duration of the installation: 06.07. – 04.09., one hour before and after the events in the Festspielhaus.

The video diptych is a poetic narrative about the history of vision. The protagonists and historical figures Étienne-Gaspard Robert (developer of phantasmagoria) and Jan Evangelista Purkyně (discoverer of ocular luminosity) appear as female and androgynous/sexless zombie figures, respectively, and assemble in their appearance the symptomatic symbolism of the posthuman and non-masculine gaze.

Duration of the installation: 09.11. – 10.12., starting one hour before and after the events in the Festspielhaus.

Previous exhibitions

Das Video-Diptychon ist eine poetische Erzählung über die Geschichte des Sehens. Die Protagonisten und historischen Persönlichkeiten Étienne-Gaspard Robert (Entwickler der Phantasmagoria) und Jan Evangelista Purkyně (Entdecker des Augenleuchtens) treten als weibliche bzw. androgyne/geschlechtslose Zombie-Figuren auf und versammeln in ihrer Erscheinung die symptomatische Symbolik des posthumanen und nicht-maskulinen Blicks.

Laufzeit der Installation: 09.11. – 10.12., jeweils ab einer Stunde vor und nach den Veranstaltungen im Festspielhaus


06.07. – 04.09.2023 Robin Woern - DUAL

The installation “Dual” is an artistic interpretation of infinite quantities in mathematics. Media artist Robin Woern translates the fact that an infinite set of numbers spans between zero and one into a differentiated aesthetic form. Two cylinders open up a visible space in between. The idea that an infinity can lie in this limited in-between, however, remains abstract.

The installation is completed by electronic sounds of the Dresden artist Jacob Korn (Uncanny Valley). Minimalist composition and the simplicity of the sculpture mirror each other, creating a spherical, artificial-looking environment.

Duration of the installation: 06.07. — 04.09., open daily 15:00 — 21:00 h

About the artist

Robin Woern (*1993 in Böblingen) is a media artist and designer. He studied communication design at the HfG Schwäbisch Gmünd and visual communication at the UdK Berlin. He currently lives and works in Berlin and is also a master student of Prof. Carsten Nicolai at the HfBK Dresden. In his work he deals with the visualization of data, noise and (non-)human interactions.


Jacob Korn – Dual I [13:04] Stereo File, 2023
Jacob Korn – Dual VI [04:18] Stereo File, 2023

Georgianna Manafa, Luisa Roth, Thomas Schmelzer, Ralf T., Niklas Thran

The exhibition is presented by PYLON and is sponsored by the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony. This measure is co-financed by tax funds on the basis of the budget passed by the Saxon state parliament.

HYBRID Box presents „Sunken Cities“, an immersive video installation by Lithuanian artist and filmmaker Emilija Škarnulytė. In a deserted landscape appears the mythological figure of the siren, who „stands for the magic and mystery of quantum mechanics“ (Roger Penrose) and acts as a mediator between nature and technology.

The mermaid gives the impression of having returned from the future to explore sunken cities and technological ruins. The video work creates a retro-futuristic view of our planet, a perspective from a time when humans are already extinct and nature has taken over – or as Škarnulytė puts it, „the ruins of human activity seen from a distant future“.

In a combination of documentary and fiction, Škarnulytė reflects on the invisible relationships between the physical world and our social imagination. In this way, it directs the viewer‘s attention to the immediate present and the imminent ecological challenges as well as the question of the future of our species.

Duration of the installation: 16.06. – 02.07., one hour before and after the events in the Festspielhaus.


About the artist

Škarnulytė received a Bachelor’s degree from Brera Academy of Art in Milan and has a Master’s degree from Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art.

She is the winner of the Future Generation Art Prize 2019 and represented Lithuania at the XXII Triennale di Milano. In 2018, she was part of the Baltic Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale. In addition to solo exhibitions at Tate Modern (2021), Kunsthaus Pasquart (2021), Den Frie (2021), National Gallery of Art in Vilnius (2021), CAC (2015), and Künstlerhaus Bethanien (2017), she participated in group exhibitions at Ballroom Marfa, Seoul Museum of Art, Kadist Foundation, and the first Riga Biennale. In 2022, Škarnulytė participated in the group exhibition Penumbra, organized by Fondazione In Between Art Film on the occasion of the 59th Venice Biennale. Her numerous awards include the Kino der Kunst Project Award, Munich (2017), the Spare Bank Foundation DNB Artist Award (2017), and the Lithuanian National Art Award for Young Artists (2016)), and she has currently been nominated for the Ars Fennica Art Award 2023. Her films are in the collections of the IFA, the Kadist Foundation, and the Centre Pompidou, and have been shown at the Serpentine Gallery (UK), the Centre Pompidou (France), and the Museum of Modern Art (New York), as well as at numerous film festivals, including Rotterdam, Busan, and Oberhausen. She recently completed residencies at Art Explora and Cite des Art, which followed another significant residency at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture. She is co-founder and currently co-director of Polar Film Lab, a collective for analog film practice in Tromsø, Norway, and a member of the artist duo New Mineral Collective, recently commissioned by the inaugural Toronto Biennial with a new body of work.



The exhibition is presented by PYLON and is sponsored by the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony. This measure is co-financed by tax funds on the basis of the budget passed by the Saxon state parliament.

In her work, video artist Eli Cortiñas uses found material from films, YouTube videos, advertisements, animations, and image archives, which she multiplies, rhythmizes, and re-scores. In the visually powerful video essay Walls Have Feelings (2019), she explores concepts of labor and value creation, among others. Cortiñas creates a dystopian image of our present that links historical, political, and aesthetic aspects. In doing so, the artist questions architecture as a manifestation and instrument of political power, as well as the role of supposedly innocent objects and interiors in their function as silent witnesses, preservers, and amplifiers of power.

Duration of the installation: 12.05. – 11.06., one hour before and after the events in the Festspielhaus.


“opera – a future game” is an interactive, digital music theater video game essay in a game engine, based on the opera “opera opera! revenants&revolutions” directed by Michael zur Mühlen, with music by Ole Hübner and texts by Thomas Köck.  

The narrative starting situation could hardly be more topical: Far in the future and after a severe catastrophe, a choir with partial amnesia finds itself in conversation with itself and a cyborg. Hauntings, individual as well as collective memories of real and longed-for events rise from their cloudy memories. Suddenly they find themselves in the desolate cultural landscape of an abandoned and decaying opera stage, and the choir thinks it finally knows who it is: a rebellious choir in the middle of a Grand Opéra that is said to have sparked a revolution and the founding of Belgium in 1830. Where to put these historical turning points and utopian longings in the face of a present that thinks of the future only as catastrophe?

For the opening of the experimental video game installation on 24.03.23 in the HYBRID Box, the first game of the experimental video game installation will be played live in the large hall in front of and with the audience as a scenic gaming performance together with the author Thomas Köck. 

Duration of the installation: 24.03. – 07.05., one hour before and after the events in the Festspielhaus.

HYBRID establishes a new international platform for the arts in the digital age and critical phases of global transformation processes, funded within the framework of the Alliance of International Production Houses by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

Federal Government for Culture and the Media.

HYBRID Box is a project in cooperation with HELLERAU – European Centre for the Arts and PYLON curated by PYLON with the support of GRAFT Architects.

Technical direction: Tobias Blasberg

Production management: Michael Lotz



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