As a response in part to the isolation people felt during the pandemic, interactive digital experiences that immerse guests in artworks and fantastical scenes have skyrocketed in popularity. From the traveling Immersive Van Gogh exhibit to the Atelier des Lumières in Paris and Kusama’s Instagrammable Infinity Mirrors, people are embracing the confluence of human interactions and the digital world.
Frameless, for example, is Britain’s largest immersive art exhibit. It features four different galleries, including Beyond Reality, a mirrored room with Surrealist and Symbolist paintings projected onto walls and ceilings. Also in London is Outernet, the immersive entertainment district that is made up of a series of spaces, such as the Now Building with four-story high video screens and the Now Arcade LED tunnel.
In the U.S., Inter_, an interactive art concept cofounded by Ryan Nelson, “gives people a reason to get out of their house and connect with people in real life,” he says. Located in New York’s Soho neighborhood, Inter_ opened last spring and boasts INTER_sensory, a massive dome of abstract digital art that is accompanied by an ambient soundtrack and 360-degree projections of visitors’ movements. From there, guests travel through a floral tunnel to an infinity room or water installation controlled via crystal balls. There’s also a cavernous subterranean level, a gong room, and a white gallery that explores the collective memory of the experience. “We’re [helping people] discover the joy, power, and beauty within all of us,” he says.
With Inter_, Nelson is providing a richer experience than traditional museums. “A lot of options out there are more passive. You watch a digital projection, but you can’t engage with it,” he says. “We want people to understand how we’re interconnected with the world around us. To a certain extent, you shape your own reality as well as the reality everybody experiences.”
While Nelson plans to grow the brand beyond New York, he also sees an opportunity for Inter_ to be a flagship in the neighborhood. “We want the area to become a destination the same way Broadway is,” he adds, “and have been in discussions with some of the other experiences nearby to brand this as an immersive district in New York.”
This article originally appeared in HD’s December 2023 issue.