Top 10 Coolest Immersive Art Experiences
The Immersive Van Gogh experience currently making the rounds in North America has been a big hit and a great way to get people out of the house and back into society as COVID-19 restrictions start to lessen and masks start to be more reserved for Halloween than for going to the grocery store and out to dinner. Even before the pandemic struck, immersive art experiences were ramping up as the next big thing and now that museums and other exposition centers are opening back up around the world, the exhibits are returning to form as well. Here’s a look at 10 of the coolest immersive art experiences around the world.
Columbus, Ohio (population 875,000) is not always most people’s first choice for impressive art displays, but Otherworld does it up right in an impressive 32,000 square feet of space. There are 40 different scenes in play at Otherworld, and something for all ages. The mixed reality (MR) space has puzzles to solve, secret passageways to explore, and playground for kids and grownups alike, combining to form a ‘surreal world of science fiction and fantasy.’ Ohio artist Jordan Renda is the mastermind behind the exhibit, having previously worked on escape rooms and haunted houses. Renda describes Otherworld as “A giant, explorable, interactive art installation tied together with an underlying story that you can sort of piece together as you go.”
Cool stuff just seems to pop up in Los Angeles, California, and that goes for immersive art as well. Wisdome is billed as the world’s “first fully immersive entertainment art park” and it’s a big one, just like Otherworld, maxing out at 35,000 square feet. True to its name, it is composed of five very large domes, each with its own sensory subjective theme to bring audiences into an immersive narrative that combines art, music, science, and spirituality. “We want to inspire people with ideas about the conscious entertainment of the future,” Wisdome art producer George Aistov says. “We are trying to bring art, music, science, and spiritual ideas to an incredible venue, and shae it in a way that people can experience it as something new.”
Artechouse is a veritable dinosaur on the immersive art front. It launched back in 2017 in Washington D.C., and has since added offerings in New York City and now Miami as well. It is driven by technology and designed to be experiential for any audience that comes in, using art and science to dazzle the senses and encouraging guests to interact with the exhibits. One of its main features is an interactive exhibit from the mind of Vince Fraser, the London-based Afro-surrealist visual artist and illustrator. “There are multiple ways of examining the relationship between art, science, and technology,” Artechouse co-founder Tatiana Pastukhova says. “Living in a highly digital world, our lives are becoming more and more inseparable from the use of technology.”
#4 Atelier des Lumieres
The name means Workshop of Lights in English and it is the first digital art museum created by Culturespaces, a French foundation that specializes in immersive art experiences. Located in a former foundry in Paris, it surrounds its visitors with projected works of arts including pieces by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Leonardo da Vinci. The Paris space got a sequel in November 2020 with a second venue in South Korea, located in a former military bunker on an island in the Pacific Ocean. “Our mission is to make art more accessible to a wider and younger public,” Bruno Monnier, the founder of Culturespaces said. “With the creation of our unique inclusive digital experiences, based on video, music, and interactivity, we want to invite visitors of all backgrounds for a fascinating immersive journey into the artistic universe.”
Based in Tokyo, teamLab was founded by Toshiyuki Inoko and is a huge collaborative effort of architects, mathematicians, CG animators, engineers, programmers, and artists. Their mantra is to explore the relationship between the world and the one through art. The Borderless exhibit first opened as a permanent museum in Tokyo in June of 2018. A second has launched in Shanghai and a third is due in Saudi Arabia in 2023. Visitors to the exhibit become part of the work, which effectively changes the art itself.
They do things bigger in Texas and that includes their immersive art experiences as well apparently. Seismic is located in Houston and has more than 40,000 square feet of floor space, described as a “tech-driven intergalactic playground” with 40 unique galaxies. A fitting home considering Houston has long been home to NASA and America’s space program. There are sculptures of aliens, projection mapping, artificial intelligence powered immersive experiences, and gamification stations. CEO Steve Kopelman says “Seismique will transport locals and visitors alike to an entirely new and unforeseen universe of creative inspiration and artistic manifestation.”
#7 Superblue Miami
teamLab, our old friends from Tokyo, are back with a recent launch in Florida of which they have created a transcendent digital experience, one of several artists featured under one roof. Also getting exposure are an immersive environment from Es Devlin and a light-based Ganzfeld work created by James Turrell. Superblue CEO Molli Dent-Brocklehurst says, “Superblue is at the forefront of how we experience immersive art. The artists inaugurating it offer a glimpse into a new world and a completely new experience. We are looking forward to welcoming the public to immerse themselves in the new worlds these artists have created.”
#8 Omega Mart
It might sound like a mega-mall where you can get jumbo sizes of everything, but Omega Mart in Las Vegas is actually an interactive narrative experience that carries the tagline of “America’s Most exceptional Grocery”. There are purchasable products with art installations and four different themed areas containing a total of 60 unique environments. The whole thing covers a staggering 52,000 square feet. It houses interactive art, installation rooms, and “portals” to other worlds featuring work from cutting edge artists.
#9 House of Eternal Return
Santa Fe, New Mexico, has long been an artist’s haven, and this fun house in the city’s downtown just cranks it up a notch. It covers 20,000 feet and has 70 rooms of immersive art and several secret passages that connect them. The story that winds its way through the entire collection is that of the mysterious Selig family that disappeared from their Victorian mansion after a forbidden experiment gone bad.
Leave it to Las Vegas to cultivate an entire experiential art and entertainment complex. There are immersive activations, cutting-edge technology displays, and art installations. The name is a play on words from the legendary Area 51, a classified US Air Force base in the Nevada desert that may or may not contain alien spacecraft that have crash landed on American soil.