“Immersive” entertainment is all the rage

A large number of visitors were surrounded by imaginary images in the magnificent exhibition of King Tut.

“Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience” displays artwork from Tutankhamun’s tomb on screens that surround visitors. Photo: Clifford A. Sobel

Attendance is poor movies and museumsbut people are flocking to “immersive” shows that let you (almost) walk around them Van Gogh painting, the tomb of King Tut or a surreal fantasy world.

Why is it important: People want to leave their couches and phone screens for transcendent experiences that allow them to move and mingle not far from their theater seats or virtual reality headsets.

News reporting: The surprise and popularity of Van Gogh exhibitions in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic has helped open the door to similar shows that make global art and artifacts more accessible and attractive.

  • Advances in projection imaging allow manufacturers to create dazzling eyewear.
  • “You walk in and you’re in a different world,” said Gilles Paquin, CEO of Paquin Entertainment Group. “Beyond Tut King” The show recently opened in several cities in the US and Canada. “It puts you in a Zen place, a place of relaxation.”

What’s going on: Production companies specializing in concerts and stage shows are now rushing to launch immersive entertainment ventures, in part because the first “Immersive Van Gogh” made a lot of money.

  • Lighthouse Immersive, the company behind Immersive Van Gogh, “sold more than 5 million tickets between February 2021 and May 2022, representing 1 in 90 Americans who purchased a ticket.” according to Artnet News.
  • Lighthouse Van Gogh show grosses $250 million, MarketWatch reports – 30 million dollars from gift shops are not counted.

Now you can wander too through the works of Monet and Klimtand Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

  • Other cool experiences – some modeled after abstract weirdness Meow wolf – go outside Lumina Night Walk such as chamber shows Inter_A Fantasia-like display that recently opened in beta in New York City.
  • Inter_ Featuring a “sound bath” and an interactive light tunnel, bubbles emit as visitors progress.
  • “Hopefully the balloons will fill with mist and smell as they go down the road,” said Ryan Nelson, the show’s founder. “It’s going to be a great smelling experience.”

This trend is affecting airports and transit stations: New installation Newark Liberty International Airport was designed by Moment Factory and also installed “color bath” Shinjuku station in Tokyo multimedia conversion At Los Angeles International Airport.

  • Some shows – etc SuperRealwhich played Last summer at the Cunard Building in lower Manhattan – appreciated the architectural uniqueness of their premises.
Spectators sitting on benches at the Van Gogh exhibition.
At last summer’s Immersive Van Gogh show in New York City, visitors were able to sit “inside” the paintings. Photo: Clifford A. Sobel

What they say: When the Van Gogh show came out Paris In 2019, “I didn’t understand how you could have a very successful immersive show in a market with the biggest museum in the world, and then I realized it was a new art form,” Paquin said.

  • Immersive shows transform the audience from passive to active participant, explains Jamie Reilly, general manager of Moment Factory.
  • “You blur the lines between the real and the surreal, the digital and the physical,” he told Axios.

However: Some of the shows are considered underwhelming, weird, and expensive by critics and viewers alike.

  • A New York Times critic described Van Gogh as “making French paintings as attractive as a nursery mobile.” scoffed.
  • The Daily Beast asked On “Monet’s Garden”: “Does it really justify Monet’s wonder?”

Most importantly: Shows that beautifully combine art, music and an upbeat atmosphere with contemporary health, mindfulness and mental health.

  • “We really encourage people to let go of their problems,” says Nelson of Inter_, which is run by a company called Joby.
  • “We want to create experiences that allow people to get out of the house and connect with each other.”
A scene at SuperReal, an interactive projection mapping exhibition.
SuperReal, which played last summer at the Cunard Building in Manhattan, was an immersive experience for audiences reclining in giant beanbag chairs. Photo: Clifford A. Sobel

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