New Genres
Anja Kirschner, 2018
Site-specific VR installation

New Genres is a site-specific installation made for a former WWII bunker in Nuremberg. It uses VR technology to disrupt the separation of virtual and physical space and obliquely extends its performative and perforative workings to the surrounding city center.

Buildings in the historic center of Nuremberg had already been extensively altered (or faked) in the years preceding WWII, to conform with an imaginary 'altdeutsche' past. The postwar reconstruction of the almost totally destroyed inner city was led by the same urban planners and architects who had been active under the Nazi regime, following their designs from the NS period.

Making references to popular first-person shooter games, the work aims to train viewers to recognize the codifications of fascist motifs in gaming environments and 'architectural heritage' through triggering non-conscious processes like pattern recognition and spatial visualisation.

In a VR simulation of the bunker adjacent rooms are connected by subterranean tunnels, which change their position and exit points in relation to the AI-controlled movement of a canine avatar, a de-weaponised version of Riley, the playable German Shepherd in the popular computer game Call of Duty.

Augmenting the VR simulation, two texts by the art historian Kerstin Stakemeier and Anja Kirschner call attention to contemporary manifestations of fascism and seek possible exit strategies. For, as Felix Guattari stressed in his 1973 lecture Everybody Wants to be a Fascist: "what fascism set in motion yesterday continues to proliferate in other forms, within the complex of contemporary social space."

Concept: Anja Kirschner
3D Model: William Fairbrother
Programmer: Mike Poleshaw
Texts: Kerstin Stakemeier and Anja Kirschner

Texts (PDF)