Become a Giant Virtual Insect at a New Prague Exhibit Devoted to Kafka

How’s this for Kafkaesque? Become Gregor Samsa in a new adaptation of Franz Kafka's “The Metamorphosis”

There’s much to be seen along the Franz Kafka trail in Prague: remnants of the Czech-German author’s birthplace at Franz Kafka Square 3, the bronze Jaroslav Róna statue at Dušní and Vězeňská streets, and the cottage he rented at 22 Golden Lane to name just a few.

A newly opened exhibit aims to take the Prague Kafka experience to new heights, allowing visitors to actually inhabit the body of one of his most famous protagonists.

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Debuting in late January at the Goethe-Institut, Metamorphosis VR is inspired by the 1915 Kafka novella of the same name, considered one of the most important works of 20th-century literature.

It invites visitors to don virtual reality glasses and, like the tormented bank clerk Gregor Samsa, become a “gigantic insect-like creature.”

“This fantastic space installation will present the original work of world literature, but transferred into a virtual reality in which the main hero is no longer Gregor Samsa, but you,” says program director of the Goethe-Institut Jakob Ráček.

Like Gregor Samsa participants must learn to control a buggy new body, moving through a room that has been faithfully modeled according to the literary original. Acoustic and visual sound effects lend to the authenticity of the staging.

The installation was created in cooperation with production company Achtung 4K and Prague Film School art director Mika Johnson. The Franz Kafka Society consulted on historical details.

Such a futuristic re-telling is a fitting tribute to the Prague-based writer, who biographer Reiner Stach Kafka says was, in fact, the spiritual father of virtual reality.

“As an enthusiastic visitor of cinemas and stereoscopic images, he once imagined that a two-dimensional image would merge with the spatial effect and create a new, completely illusory reality,” writes Stach.

The exhibit runs through March 31, 2018.

Opening hours are Tuesday-Thursday 13:00-19:00; Friday 11:00-17:00. Admission is free.

Note: A short waiting time should be expected as only one visitor at a time may enter the exhibit.

For more information see the Facebook page for the exhibit.

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