Immersive exhibitions – A new reality awaits

Immersive exhibitions – A new reality awaits

These past two years have forced many to adapt to new situations. Museums and art institutions have clearly proved themselves to be extremely versatile when having to work with new creative spaces to exhibit their work.

The immersive wave does not necessarily come with the pandemic, however, the development of a strong relationship between museums and technology is becoming more apparent in recent times. 

In 2015, Banksy opened Dismaland a ‘bemusement park’ in Weston-Super-Mare, UK. This ‘unsuitable for children theme-park’ provided an exhibition-type exploration of the artist’s work.

With the use of VR experiences, live performance and AI, the immersive world began taking a further step. 

In 2017, the Victoria & Albert Museum ran Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains for five months. This retrospective of the iconic band presented an audio-visual experience, combining performance, music and technology to chronicle the band from the 1960s to the present day. 

Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains is now being exhibited at the Vogue Multicultural Museum in Los Angeles.

The Pink Floyd Exhibition

Immersive exhibitions are playing a crucial role in providing art education to groups of people that are not generally interested in cultural spaces. 

The use of immersive technology – Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, projection installations, holographic tours, projection domes – is allowing the audience to place themselves at the centre of the exhibition.

A rejuvenation of cultural display proves a very efficient way to capture the attention of the audience, as it allows people to engage with the subject matter in a full audio-visual and physical experience. 

Combining developed technological knowledge with cultural exploration can modernise education by providing an updated experience that allows people to gain a closer relationship with what is being displayed. 

An expert company in immersive technology, Fulldome.Pro, have been promoting since 2010 the integration of 360º immersive technologies into Art, Science, Entertainment, Education, Marketing and Hospitality, providing a new space for shared experiences.

Offering full-service solutions for projection domes, Fulldome.Pro provides a revolutionary technology that pioneers new design projects in engineering, installation and production.

The Immersive Pioneer: Van Gogh

Immersive exhibitions have gone wild with Immersive Van Goghthe blockbuster exhibition that opened in Paris in February 2019 as Van Gogh, Starry Night, and that toured the post-lockdown world. 

Developed by Italian film produce, Massimiliano Siccardi, this immersive world provides an hour-long experience via 600K Cubic feet of projections, 60,600 frames of video and 90 million pixels. The exhibition is also accompanied by composer Luca Longobardi´s experimental electronic sounds combined with simple piano music. 

This exact team were behind the mother of all immersive Van Gogh exhibitions that opened in Paris at L’Átelier des Lumières. 

Van Gogh Immersive exhibition at L’Átelier des Lumières (min 9:03)

The Paris exhibition also featured in Netflix’s show Emily in Paris, so there is no way anyone was missing out on this experience. 

Funnily enough, a similarly named Van Gogh immersive exhibition travelled the globe at the same time. Other than the AR and AI features used to bring Van Gogh into life,  Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, also offers an educational film about the artist’s relation to colour, Van Gogh still lifes projected into a large vase and a 3D sculpture version of Bedroom in Arles.

Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience

The newbies

The IDEAL Digital Arts Centre in Barcelona has premiered its 3rd immersive production, this time focused on Gustav Klimt’s work.

With a projection of more than 1000 square meters of the screen, as well as AR and AI tools, the space invites the audience to immerse themselves in late 19th century Vienna, and explore the evolution of Klimt’s work. 

The next blockbuster immersive exhibition to enter the scene will be focused on Monet. 

Claude Monet: The Immersive Experience displays through 360º projections, over 300 digitalised paintings and sketched by the artist, Providing the public with a uniquely immersive experience that has already been featured in Brussels, Barcelona and Turin. 

Monet Experience

However, like Van Gogh, Monet’s immersive debut could not be limited to one show. 

Beyond Monet and Monet by Water are two other pop-up immersive exhibitions that will open up a new reality to the audience.

Monet by Water will feature over 250 paintings in an audiovisual show that will be featured in a five-story circus tent. Opening in San Francisco, the exhibition will travel to Minneapolis, Atlanta, Seattle, Miami, Denver, St. Louis and Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, Beyond Monet, promises visitors a view of 400 paintings in a 36-minute show displayed across a 50,000 square feet space. 

Leaving behind Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, with 10 daily 45-minutes shows, Citibanamex and OCESA, present Frida: La Experiencia Immersiva.

The exhibition animates 26 of Frida Kahlo’s works on a large scale, portraying the Mexican artist’s self-portraits in a newly revolutionised fashion.

Through the use of music, sculptural projections, interaction, digital animation and scenography, Frida: La Experiencia Immersiva, aims to provide a new understanding of Kahlo’s work, with a deeper familiarity and intimacy. 

It is clear, that these past two years we have experienced the whole immersive exhibition concept very intensely. Especially with Van Gogh.

While gatekeepers and purists of the art world are being slightly slow in embracing immersive art, as it appears to be too close to big tech and entertainment, we must appreciate that this radicalising of formal exhibition conceptions is bringing new ideas to the table. 

By embracing new technologies, museums are expanding their reach to broader audiences, to establish a new understanding of experiential art as a revolutionising format that breaks the conceptualisations of what exhibition spaces generally entail.

Immersive installations provide a new excitement when observing art that can encourage visitors who don’t necessarily go to exhibitions frequently, to engage with an artist’s work. 

They provide a new space where art can merge with technological advances, allowing viewers to experience an exhibition in a deeper physicality. 

In addition, the use of Augmented and Virtual Reality devices, to an extent democratises the possibility of art to be experienced in different countries and spaces, as the physical work is not being exhibited. 

Illustrated by Victoria Hoover

About The Author

Eugenia Pacheco Aisa

Eugenia Pacheco Aisa is an MA History of Art student at University College London (UCL), working on her dissertation about photographer Francesca Woodman. She graduated from UCL in 2020, from a degree in Classical Archaeology and Classical Civilisations. A recent addition to the Mouthing Off Magazine, Eugenia currently manages the visual arts team.

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