Art x Science Dialogues: Ultimate Dream of VR

Join us in this special VR edition of Art x Science Dialogues, to immerse yourself in this engaging new world.

In close collaboration with Pro Helvetia Shanghai and Power Station of Art (PSA), Swissnex in China is delighted to present the remarkable underwater experience “Paradise Lost” by Birdly at the 13th Shanghai Biennale, from May 18 – June 1. Taking this occasion, Art x Science Dialogues has invited two frontier experts behind all these brilliant research and experiences, Bruno Herbelin, Scientist from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), and Max Rheiner, CEO and Founder of SOMNIACS AG / Birdly, to guide us towards the multisensory future shaped by the evolving VR technology.


The technological promise of VR has been driving immersive experiences from as far back as the 1860s. However, its realization has been taking a roller coaster ride and underwent constant improvements in terms of both hardware and software, as the field seeks to break the limits of imagination and fulfil its infinite potentials. Get ready to teleport yourself and interact with our speakers to experience VR’s mighty capacity for illusion, beyond sight and sound.





16:00 – 16:05                   Opening Remarks                             

Cissy Sun, Head of Art-Science at Swissnex in China


16:05 – 16:25                   Embodied and Disembodied Virtual Reality

Bruno Herbelin, Scientist, Laboratory of cognitive neuroscience, Brain & Mind Institute, EPFL


16:25 – 16:45                   Flight of Mind and the Creation of Full Body Immersion

Max Rheiner, CEO and Founder of SOMNIACS AG / Birdly; MA Lecturer Interaction Design, Zurich University of the Arts (ZHDK)


16:45 – 19:00                   Discussion and Q&A 


Embodied and Disembodied Virtual Reality

The scientific study of bodily self-consciousness has shown how the subjective experience of controlling and being inside a physical body emerges from the coherent multisensory integration of bodily and external signals. Altering this mechanism of embodiment, for instance by replacing the real body by a virtual one, can temporarily change how one perceives properties of their own body. VR thus allows exploring a whole range of new bodily experiences, from the disembodiment when seeing yourself in a third-person perspective, to the re-embodiment when experiencing to be in a different body.


Flight of Mind and the Creation of Full Body Immersion

Birdly is a full-body immersion flight and gliding simulator which enables a full sensory embodiment. Through story-telling and immersive technologies we create experiences which leave the reality behind.


The Art x Science Dialogues is a new webinar series initiated by swissnex China in 2020. The webinar series not only presents artistic projects which scientists and research engineers are deeply involved in, but also looks into new interdisciplinary initiatives and trends. Through the dialogues between artists and scientists, we try to stimulate the exchange of ideas between the two different worlds and explore opportunities for collabrations.

Art x Science Dialogues

  • Art x Science Dialogues