ILIOS evolved as a correspondence between artists Karnapke and Johnson over several months during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) shut down. The two had collaborated in February, 2020, in Germany, on a digital project that was shut down when Johnson got stuck in North America for the remainder of the spring. The two artists continued to correspond, discussing the meaning of this event in their personal lives. ILIOS is a meditation on the state of flux we are all living in today: a state where patterns emerge only to undergo change in such sudden succession that reality and normality can only be assumed in short bursts. 

Video and concept by Marcel Karnapke
Text and voice over by Mika Johnson
Sound design by Jackson Bierfeldt


Imagine an immersive tour of Prague where the world of Franz Kafka suddenly comes to life via the cell phone app called K. A map appears. You are five minutes away from one of Kafka’s two former residences in Prague’s Josefov neighborhood, the first being Pařížská 36. Demolished in 1945 and now a hotel, the building appears when you hold up your cell phone, its former facade re-constructed out of photographs from the late 19th century. An audio guide tells you that Kafka penned “The Metamorphosis” here. A floor plan of the flat appears, illustrating how the arrangement of rooms in the story mirrors the building’s layout.

VRWandlung / Metamorphosis VR

Wake up in the virtual world as Gregor Samsa, not only late for work but transformed into a giant insect. Experience the alienation of Kafka's classic text like never before, this time immersed in the hyper-realistic body of an insect - with six legs, mandibles, and antenna - and surrounded by Gregor's possessions: books, papers, and drawers filled with items that you can only explore, as your family members and manager pound on your door, demanding an explanation.



Inside VRWandlung

Inside VRwandlung tells the story of how the Goethe Institut, in Prague, produced the groundbreaking virtual reality adaptation of Franz Kafka's "The Metamorphosis," which took half a year and over thirty people to complete. Director Mika Johnson explains the project from concept to completion, highlighting collaborations between the artistic teams involved, including the creation of a miniature model of Gregor Samsa's room.


Written and performed by Reiner Stach, "Four very short lectures on Kafka" presents four short documentaries on Franz Kafka's novel, "The Metamorphosis," in virtual reality. Award winner Kafka biographer Reiner Stach describes the context which Kafka's story evolves out of, including his relationship to his family, animals, and fiance Felice Bauer.  Stach's lectures are profound meditations on both Kafka, the writer, and his story's protagonist, Gregor Samsa: the most famous insect in literary history.