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Festival: ‘Reference Realities’ new artistic horizons for fashion’s virtual life

Text by CLOT Magazine

Blue Room, still image. Michel Gaubert x EBIT™ (2020)

Opening today, Reference Realities is the virtual platform of Reference Studios, conceived in partnership with digital creators Claudia Rafael and Ben Wegscheider of Bureau Cool. Inaugurated in 2019, the platform has been incepted to serve as a tool to showcase any media format in an open-world environment, becoming an experience of its own.

It equals a means for Reference Studios to showcase the contents of clients and partners beyond any restrictions. Reference Studio’s work as a communications agency embeds a holistic and interdisciplinary approach connecting the dots between fashion, PR, and experiential marketing in Berlin while trying to set standards for community-driven hybrid formats.

As part of a reboot of Berlin Fashion Week, Reference Studios’ own gallery space activations metamorphose into digital spheres on the virtual platform. By doing so, the festival becomes phygital, and aims to generate access to immersive experiences to a global crowd. Navigating parallel realities, Reference Realities aims to set a perspective for the future.

Navigating inside, the space feels eerie and pleasant simultaneously, with soft colours, cloudy textures and easy navigation through the different rooms and virtual experiences. The opening day kicks off with an interesting programme:

Hans Ulrich Obrist and Honey Dijon will open Reference Festival in a conversation addressing the topics and challenges we are experiencing at the social and cultural levels. PAN, one of the reference experimental record labels and one with the closest ties with the arts and fashion worlds will present Anne Imhof and Eliza Douglas, Pan Daijing, Amnesia Scanner and MJ Harper, live from Berlin’s Zeiss Major Planetarium, which will be streamed through the platform.

Fashion’s undisputed master of ceremony, Michel Gaubert, in collaboration with the new collective called EBIT™, released a debut Blue Monday mix by Gaubert which becomes a (virtual) reality in a dedicated blue room where music turns into a multidisciplinary experience, with ocean views and marine-inspired animations. On Friday, the selection of music performances will continue with a curation that balances the experimental with more fashion-focused acts.

There are also installations (including two sculptures of the recent collaboration between the Swiss artist Tobias Spichtig and Balenciaga), talks and a 20th-anniversary 20th Anniversary celebration project with 032C, the iconic lifestyle and fashion publication and brand and a long-term partner on a tour through the city that saw them rise and bloom.

Reference Realities runs 21-23 January 2021

(Image courtesy of Reference Studios)

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