Immersive non-fiction work by artists Mariam Natroshvili, Detu Jincharadze screening at IDFA DocLab

A still from the virtual tour produced by Mariam Natroshvili and Detu Jincharadze and selected for the 2021 IDFA DocLab edition. Image via IDFA., 15 Nov 2021 - 16:44, Tbilisi,Georgia

An immersive non-fiction visual work by artists Mariam Natroshvili and Detu Jincharadze is among projects screening at the ongoing DocLab Competition of this year's International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam starting this week, bringing a digital portrayal of the urban fabric of Georgian cities to the platform.

One of 10 projects by creatives from across the world selected to feature in the DocLab Competition for Immersive Non-Fiction, the two artists' 20-minute virtual tour entitled The City Was Asleep and It Had a Dream was picked by the IDFA platform organisers for Liminal Reality - the special theme programme of this year's competition.

In their creation, Natroshvili and Jincharadze present a look at the urban architecture of Georgia's capital Tbilisi, combining fragments of the Soviet era embedded in the city texture with "flagships of the new neoliberal order" in the post-transformation country.

The police station, the pawn shop, and the church are symbols of the powers that control public, economic, and moral life. The way they are embedded architecturally reflects the collision, overlap, and partial merger of two ideological systems from which a new city is born

- summary for the work

The tour illustrates to viewers the abrupt shift in social space over the recent decades, from what has often been dubbed as "chaotic" urban development projects to abandoned constructions and an overall urban sprawl in the city.

[T]he selected works reveal the full spectrum of immersive art - from stunning in-headset experiences that dive deep into an artist’s psyche to soft-robotics installations that tickle your tastebuds through to immersive films

- IDFA DocLab 2021 edition summary

The work responds to the 2021 theme of the DocLab, summarised as "an in-between state that is both familiar and unknown" and resides "on the threshold of digital, physical, and hybrid realities". Organisers have described their selections for the programme as "experiential projects by some of the world’s top immersive and interactive artists".

Natroshvili and Jincharadze have produced works in the digital medium, with recent displays including a group exhibition at Tbilisi Photography and Multimedia Museum earlier this year that explored cultural reference in videogames and multimedia. The duo also conceived All this might be a dream, an online display in videogame form, last year.

This year's DocLab edition is set to run between November 19-28, with the wider IDFA programme spanning between November 17-28.