Ali Eslami’s work originates in Virtual Reality, often manifesting as VR / Film Installations and performance lectures. These long-term research projects build up and grow over time through speculative thinking and world-building. by carefully observing the nature of reality, human condition, and constructs that are taken for granted. And tries to push it further to extreme or twisted thresholds.
His early influences in art practice came from surrealism, developing alongside a recent fascination with speculative fiction such as the works of J.G Ballard and Theory fiction.
His engineering background nurtured an obsession with cybernetics and continues to build his curiosity towards the shifting roles of form and function that create virtual worlds. These experiences produce realities that blur fictional and non-fictional narratives and hope to articulate possible futures while questioning the restrains of space, time, and body.
As a practice, this engineering of other worlds brings a lot of exciting methods and reflections to the embodied reality of life itself. In this sense, it has the potential to function as a feedback loop between the real and unreal.
In 2016, his VR project won the IDFA DocLab Award for “Best Immersive non-fiction” and in 2020 the Golden Calf for Best interactive at Nederlands Film Festival (Nerd_Funk). Side activities include Co-curator at STRP Festival and Program advisor at IDFA Doclab.

2010-2014    Bachelor of Civil Engineering – Zanjan National University (Zanjan, Iran)

Artist in Residence
2021-23    Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten (Amsterdam, NL)
2020          Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Guest resident (Amsterdam. NL)
2018-19    3Package Deal, Amsterdam fonds voor de kunst (Amsterdam. NL)
2016          Age of Wonderland, Baltan Laboratories (Eindhoven, NL)

Work Experience and Activities
2019-Present    Program Advisor IDFA Doclab
2020-Present    Co-curator at STRP Festival
2009-2012         Senior 3D Artist – Savice Interior Architecture Co.

Selected Exhibitions
2021   TETEM – VR Installation (Enschede, NL)
2020   IDFA Doclab – Live performance (Amsterdam, NL)

Nerd_Funk (Supported by Nederlands Film Fonds/IDFA/Stimulering Fonds/AFK)
2022    CTM Festival (Berling, GE)  |  Melkweg exhibition (Amsterdam, NL)
2021    Patty Morgan Gallery (Amsterdam, NL)
2020    Impossible-bodies Festival (Den Bosch, NL) | Nederlands Film Festival [Golden Calf Nominee] (Utrecht, NL)
             Geneva International Film Festival (Geneva, SW)
             CPH:DOX (Copenhagen, DK)  |  Ambulante Film Festival (Mexico)
             Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Open Doclab R&D Program
2019    VR Installation, IDFA Doclab (Commissioned by NL Film Fonds) (Amsterdam, NL)

Big Air with Go (Nike Commission)
2019    VR Installation, Melt Festival (Leipzig, GE)

Sacred Hill (Supported by Stimulering Fonds, Amsterdam Fonds Voor de Kunst, Mondrian Fonds)
2021   Geneva International Film Festival (Geneva, SW)
2020    Meta Marathon (Dusseldorf, GE)
2019    Neuhaus Artistic Research, The New Institute (Rotterdam, NL)  |  Nederlands Film Festival, Interactive Expo (Utrecht, NL)
             Museumnacht Amsterdam (Amsterdam, NL)

False Mirror VR
2022   Sumac Space (Florence, IT) [Video]
2019    The Overkill Festival (Enschede, NL)  | Getxophoto Festival (Bilbao, SP)

             A Maze Festival (Berlin, GE)  | Ambulante Film Festival (Mexico)
             Diversion Cinema Showcase in Galerie Cinema (Paris, FR)
2018    IDFA Doclab Spotlight (Amsterdam, NL)

DeathTolls Experience
2019    Nexus Gallery (Melbourne, Aus) |  Ambulante Film Festival (Mexico)
2018    Published online at Oculus Store | War on Screen Festival (Paris, France)
2017    Published online at Steam and Viveport  | Global Health Film Festival (London, UK)
             Festival du Nouveau Cinéma (Montreal, CA)  |  Bergen Film Festival (Bergen, Norway)
             Sheffdoc Fest South American Tour | Paris Virtual Film Festival (Paris. FR)
             Sheffield DocFest (Sheffield, UK)  | Kaleidoscope VR Showcase Vol 2
             SXSW Virtual Cinema (Austin, USA)
2016    IDFA Festival (Amsterdam, NL)  | Dutch Design Week (Eindhoven, NL)

Snow VR
2018    WoW Masquerade 24H West (Amsterdam, NL)
2017    IndieCade Showcase at E3 Expo (Los Angeles, USA)
2016    Todaysart Festival (The Hague, NL)  | Mutek VR Salon (Montreal, CA)

2019    Jury member of goEast Film Festival VR Competition

2018    Jury member of IDFA Doclab’s Competition for Immersive non-fiction
             Founder member of Plurality University (U+)
             CPH:Lab participant
             IDFA’s Cross-Media Forum Participant
2013    Temp-Illusion Live AudioVisual Performance at TADAEX Festival (Tehran, Iran)

Selected Talks / Conferences / Workshops

2021     Hogeschool van Amsterdam – Multimedia Design – Lecture (Amsterdam, NL)
              University of Applied Arts, Vienna – Lecture (Vienna, AU)
              Netherlands Film Academy – Master of Film – Lecture (Amsterdam, NL)
              MIT University Hacking XR, False Mirror Lecture (Boston, US)

2020    We Are Public Livestream, False Mirror VR Lecture (online)
             Meta Marathon, False Mirror VR Lecture (Dusseldorf, GE)
             Johns Hopkins University, False Mirror VR Lecture (New York, US)
             MoMA Museum of Modern Art, False Mirror video showcase (New York, US)
             The University of Denver, False Mirror VR Lecture (Denver, US)
2019    Eindhoven Film Festival,  False Mirror VR Lecture (Eindhoven, NL)
             Unpackaging 3Package Deal, False Mirror VR Lecture (Amsterdam, NL)
             GetxoPhoto Festival, False Mirror VR Lecture (Bilbao, ES)
             Mutek Montreal, False Mirror VR Lecture (Montreal, CA)
             Virtual Embodiment VR Lecture, Sensorium Festival (Bratislava, SL)
             Live lecture from VR, A Maze Festival (Berlin, GE)
             Salwa Foundation, VR Workshop (Amsterdam, NL)
             The Hmm. Presentation (Amsterdam, NL)
             ‘Behind the Net’ Workshop, Artez University (Arnhem, NL)
             Panel speaker, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah Film Platform (Sharjah, UAE)
2018    Speculative Design VR Workshop, University of Applied Sciences, Master of Digital Design (Amsterdam, NL)
             False Mirror VR Presentation, IDFA Doclab (Amsterdam, NL)
2017    VR workshop, Tumo center for creative technologies, (Yerevan, Armenia)
             Why Virtual Reality?! Roundtable, Forum Des Images (Paris, FR)
             VR Symposium, Royal College of Arts (London, UK)
             Join The Resistance Panel, Sheffield DocFest (Sheffield, UK)
             VR Production Workflow Workshop, Tehran ACM Siggraph (Tehran, Iran)
2016    VR Masterclass (3 Days), Artez University (Arnhem, NL)
             Interactive Conference Talk, IDFA Doclab (Amsterdam, NL)
             Advanced VR Development and Design, Workshop at Dutch Design Week (Eindhoven, NL)
             VR as new Medium, Workshop at Dutch Design Week (Eindhoven, NL)
             Introduction to VR, STRP Scene (Eindhoven, NL)
             VPRO Medialab’s Meet the Makers, (The Hague, NL)
2014    Expanded Reality Presentation, Re-Shape Tehran (Tehran, Iran)

Nederlands Film Festival Golden Calf and Director’s Forum Award 2020
IDFA Festival competition for Immersive-nonfiction 2016 & 2019
Dutch Design Awards – Data and Interaction 2021
One World Media Award Longlist 2018
Lumen Prize Shortlist 2017
SXSW Virtual Cinema 2017
Sheffield DocFest 2017
Kantar’s Information is Beautiful Awards 2015