MUSE PRESENTS

ART IN 360

Like many fairy tales, the world of immersive art lies beyond the imagination. By placing the viewer centre stage, with senses ignited, this far-away land comes to life. It is thanks to these innovations in the moving image, that the age of the digital storyteller, powerful and enchanting, is upon us.

Viewers are engaged, rather than passive participants, senses are unlocked and new worlds are presented. This is a landscape of moving image art in 360.

Picture the scene: a space pulsing with imagery, light and video to engage the viewer; this is immersive art, creating an experience that moves beyond the figurative fourth wall. Instead, the space between the audience and the art finds its depth in works that offer new dimensions. Viewers are engaged, rather than passive participants, senses are unlocked and new worlds are presented. This is a landscape of moving image art in 360.

Yayoi Kusama - Infinity Mirrorer Room art project

Image: Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrored Room - Filled with the Brilliance of Life 2011/2017 Tate. Presented by the artist, Ota Fine Arts and Victoria Miro 2015, accessioned 2019 © YAYOI KUSAMA

In contrast to our digitally static lives, our shared desire to interact has driven the popularity of the immersive art phenomenon to reach new heights. The rules of viewer engagement are being radically changed, coupled with a new mantra: large scale, large impact. Consider the mind-blowing installation of Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Infinity Mirror Rooms’ which was chosen last year to celebrate an iconic art world milestone, Tate Modern’s 20th birthday, the exhibition is now opening in March 2021. There is no question that the queues will be epic, just as they were at every show of Kusama’s work over the last few years.

 

Image: Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrored Room - Filled with the Brilliance of Life 2011/2017 Tate Presented by the artist, Ota Fine Arts and Victoria Miro 2015, accessioned 2019 © YAYOI KUSAMA

Yayoi Kusama - Infinity Mirrorer Room art project

The involvement of large art institutions, as they experiment with the immersive power of space, extends particularly to the moving image. The once familiar filmic experience is being transformed by technologies, from VR to AR and AI, this new landscape places the viewer in a leading role. Imagine entering into a moving image artwork where fish splash around visitor’s footsteps, flowers open to touch and waterfalls cascade around bodies.  This is the work of teamLab, an international art collective whose augmented reality works populate an entire museum in Tokyo and other major cities.  No wonder they rank among the world’s most visited single-artist museums.  Their latest museum opened last year at the Venetian in Macao, where 8-meter-tall walls are lined with their signature valleys of blooming landscapes. teamLab’s vast rooms of limitless art has seen the collective stand out amongst others. When one steps into a teamLab show, the living wallpaper warrants a sensory engagement: to see, touch and feel the art around you.

 

Image: Forest of Resonating Lamps - One Stroke, courtesy teamLab

Teamlab's immersive exhibition

Such is the appetite for these experiences that blue-chip New York gallery Pace’s President & CEO Marc Glimcher and Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst have launched Superblue, which will open its first location in Miami towards the end of the year. Away from the white-walled displays of commercial galleries, Superblue will create a network of experiential art spaces with immersive exhibitions. A for-profit venture, the new hybrid pays their super-star artists a cut of the ticket sales.

“Artists conjure up extraordinary universes that provoke new ideas about ourselves and make us reimagine our relationship with each other and the world… “

Marc Glimcher
Co-founder of Superblue

Marc Glimcher, Co-founder of Superblue and President & CEO of Pace explains: ‘Artists conjure up extraordinary universes that provoke new ideas about ourselves and make us reimagine our relationship with each other and the world… Superblue represents a necessary evolution and disruption of the arts ecosystem, providing artists with the resources they need for realising their most ambitious ideas and engaging the public in the ways they envisioned, which is so integral to the work itself.’

 

Confirmed creatives for the Miami launch include Es Devlin, James Turrell and teamLab, with other big-name artists collaborating such as new media artist Jacolby Satterwhite, who creates real and imagined works through intricately detailed animations and live-action film.

 

Hans Ulrich Obrist, uber curator, a pillar of the Serpentine Galleries in London and Muse Dream Commission juror, and a passionate advocate of digital art considers the unique motion of digital storytelling through immersion: ‘Moving image has been trapped in this idea of a loop: whenever you show a film or video installation there are moments where it repeats. This has been disrupted by the emergence of simulation. They are digital living organisms more similar to a tree than a film. I think that produces a completely new art form.’

“Moving image has been trapped in this idea of a loop: whenever you show a film or video installation there are moments where it repeats. This has been disrupted by the emergence of simulation.”

Hans Ulrich Obrist
Curator, Serpentine Galleries

The ‘new art form,’ one which places the viewer centre stage, need not be reserved for those who seek it. Art in public spaces has a natural propensity to engage those passing by. Many artists have harnessed displays in the public realm, creating extraordinary universes in the one we already know. The new canvases are billboards. Boasting the convenience of pre-built high-tech and audience numbers galleries dream of, public art also preaches post-pandemic safety and lets viewers immerse from afar.

 

Digital platform Circa Art commissions new artists each month to take over the giant electronic billboard of London’s Piccadilly Circus hosting artists such as Ai Weiwei and Patti Smith. Times Square Art, in New York City, similarly interacts with the half a million people treading the streets each day. Dream Commission shortlisted artist Sondra Perry’s work has recently plastered the 70 screens of Times Square with her undulating ‘Flesh Wall (2016-2020)’ for their ‘Midnight Moment’ program. Scale and effect expose unaware patrons into a new world, creating profound relevance for the genre in these recent initiates.

 

Vidoe below credit: Times Square Arts’ Midnight Moment: Flesh Wall by Sondra Perry, videography: Tatyana Tenenbaum.

Whilst in London’s West End, vast screens are to be permanently installed as part of the new media district, ‘Outernet’, as the world’s largest digital exhibition venue. Renowned artistic director and artist Marco Brambilla is no beginner when it comes to public art, his most recent exhibition at Acute Art’s largest public VR festival, ‘Unreal City.’ Taking the Four Temperaments from a Greek philosopher, Brambilla placed actress Cate Blanchett into virtual crystal balls, whispering ‘I Love You’ to other Acute Art app users.

 

Image: Marco Brambilla, The Four Temperaments AR. Augmented reality. Courtesy of the artists and Acute Art.

AR project by Marco Brambilla

Taking moving image art to new levels of immersion, this winter Outernet will broadcast veteran performance artist Marina Abramovic’s new dramatic opera ‘The Seven Deaths of Maria Callas’ in 360 degrees, floor-to-ceiling and an impressive 23,000 square feet, proving the power of scale on screen.

 

Immersive, experiential art is a welcome addition to the new normal – trippy and super sensory – it has an ability to transcend reality as we know it, opening up new stories that might otherwise have seemed impossible to realise.

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