Immersive art exhibits utilize technology to create a unique new experience for art lovers
April 12, 2022
With the world becoming more and more digital, art exhibits have increasingly begun to follow the newest trend in the industry – immersive art experiences. All over the country, these new art exhibits have opened which highlight the fusion of technology and art, using projectors, 3D aspects and virtual reality to give viewers an everlasting experience that they may not have at a classic museum. Already established in Europe and Asia, digital art is popularly building itself in the U.S, with various art exhibits available in the Philadelphia area.
When it comes to immersive art, a sometimes generalized term, it refers to works which surround their viewers in a full-body experience, stimulating the human sense of sight, touch, sound and sometimes even smell. Viewers are able to become participants in the art and based on this, will have a completely different adventure with the piece than the person directly next to them. With these different pieces of art, exhibits are creating a new and exciting experience for museum-goers and changing the art landscape as it currently exists.
In Philadelphia, there are multiple destinations offering this type of experience. Within the past year, Wonderspaces Philadelphia opened its doors offering vivid spectacles for participants. The 24,000 square foot space holds 15 extraordinary art installations mixing art, music and technology. With no formal placards describing every piece, Wonderspaces encourages conversation and engagement amongst its guests.
Julia Chan (‘23) says, “While most museums consist of looking at artifacts and reading some information provided, Wonderspaces is more about getting an enriching experience. There are so many different exhibits that you wouldn’t find at a traditional museum.”
At Wonderspaces, every exhibit offers a different experience for viewers. You can walk through an installation with over 8,000 lights as the colors change with the thundering music. You can express your body by digitally painting a room or place yourself in an abduction journey through the powers of virtual reality. Hosting artists from all over the world, the Wonderspaces gallery contains $1 million worth of commissioned artwork that will not disappoint. Located inside the Fashion District, Wonderspaces Philadelphia is currently the largest location out of the three – the others in Austin, TX and Scottsdale, AZ – and it is open everyday except Monday and Tuesday on a long-term contract. Tickets for adults are $24; $20 for students, teachers, seniors, and military and healthcare workers; $15 for children aged 3-12 and free for children under three.
Philadelphia also hosts another popular immersive art experience known as “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience”. The 360° exhibition teaches all about the life and story behind Vincent Van Gogh’s famous works. It includes 3-D visuals along with other presentations such as a virtual reality experience where you are placed in a virtual rendering of Van Gogh’s bedroom based on his paintings. It gives people an entirely new way of experiencing art using technology, animated displays, and sound to do it. One of the real highlights located at the end of the exhibit is a huge hall where you are left to indulge in a presentation about his paintings projected all over the walls.
Maya Pater (‘25) says, “You can sit and relax and watch his paintings come to life all around you, almost like you’re living in it. It’s an amazing way to perceive art work.”
Vibrant colors and the stars from Starry Night swirl around you as you experience an incredible ride learning about one of history’s best artists. You are quite literally immersed in his art along with music and animations to give you a thrilling Van Gogh experience. The exhibit is displayed at Philadelphia’s Tower Theatre.
As more of these immersive art experiences continue to open, the way art is perceived is continuously changing, growing, and adapting to the interests of viewers. Immersive art experiences are the newest update to art and they are here to stay. As Pater (‘25) says,“Immersive art experiences give people another way to imagine and be a part of the artwork. It’s something not everyone can experience.”