Saturday, July 10, 2021

The ArtScience Museum's New VR Gallery Offers Unique And Trippy Virtual Reality Experiences

The ArtScience Museum is Red Dot Diva's top favourite museum on the island. She visits the museum about 5 times in a year. Maybe even more.

The museum's specially selected themes and exhibits are what draws her in, due to of her love for science-fiction, tech and pop-culture art as well as engineering oddities. Being easily accessible at its Marina Bay location just a 20-minute bus ride from where she lives is also a big thumbs up.

Starting from 10 July 2021, the ArtScience Museum has launched a brand new VR Gallery. The permanent room at Level 4 will offer visitors a series of unique immersive virtual reality experiences created by the world's renowned contemporary artists.

Red Dot Diva was fortunate to attend a preview of the new VR Gallery, which features futuristic egg-shaped chairs that allow you to swivel 360 degrees. Placed on each seat were state-of-the-art VR headset and controllers, which will help you navigate your virtual surroundings.

To keep everyone safe during the Covid-19 pandemic, visitors need to sanitise their hands before entering the zone. The chairs are kept at the mandated social distance, and you are provided with a mask to wear before putting on the VR headset. The equipment are also sanitised before each viewing time slot. Red Dot Diva was impressed at how organised the logistics were.

Before you start, the guides explain how to put on the VR headset and use the controllers. For those with contacts or perfect eyesight, adorning the VR headset is usually not as problematic as “four-eyed” people like Red Dot Diva. She already anticipated minor hiccups concerning this, but she did not expect so much difficulty with the particular headset she was assigned. It did not sit well on her head and kept slipping down the front because of its weight, which then knocked off her glasses. It took awhile for a guide to understand her problem and see what was wrong to fix the headset's fit. (He was so patient about it though. Thank you!)

Unfortunately, that also meant that Red Dot Diva missed some of the introductory message, and was a little lost on what she was supposed to do while watching the first VR segment. Perhaps, the VR Gallery guides can slow down a little and ensure everyone got their headsets on comfortably before continuing their introduction?

A programme entitled “Hyperrealities”, presented in collaboration with Acute Art, kicks off the launch of the museum's VR Gallery. It consists of VR artistic interpretations from groundbreaking artists Olafur Eliasson, Marina Abramović and Anish Kapoor.

Olafur Eliasson'sRainbow” (2017) is his first VR work - a digital experiment on the rainbow, light spectrum and water droplets. Too bad, Red Dot Diva was a little disoriented with getting her headset on properly that when she entered the first rainbow realm, it did not occur to her that she was to interact with it. Consider this one of Red Dot Diva's blur like sotong moments. But yes, viewers are to use their controllers and interact with the virtual rainbow.

Next was performance artist and activist Marina Abramović'sRising” (2018). Her passionate concern for climate change was in full force in this segment. For Red Dot Diva, it was the most realistic, unnerving and immersive of the three. You are thrust into the polar regions, in the midst of the icy sea's fast rising and tumultuous waters. Then, later, brought suddenly face to face with the artists' virtual avatar slowly drowning in a tank of water, compelling you to make an important moral decision.

Anish Kapoor'sInto Yourself, Fall” (2018) was Red Dot Diva's favourite segment. In his first VR creation, Anish Kapoor puts you on an existential experience of falling into one's own body. The show starts of serenely enough in a quiet green forest, and then things get reeealllllly trippy. You feel as if you are in the quantum realm as you travel in between muscle, blood vessels and sinew. Some parts looked quite gory but Red Dot Diva was unable to look away, as the colourful, fantastical landscape pulse and float all around her. Absolutely mind-bending.

The VR Gallery offers a way to escape real life as it is. Red Dot Diva felt it also stimulated parts of her mind that was not as regularly used, especially if one has a very logic-based job. Warning though -- if you tend to suffer from vertigo, claustrophobia or have a history of seizures and epilepsy, this exhibition is not recommended for you.

Tickets are available right now at the ArtScience Museum's portal at SGD 12 each for residents, and SGD 14 for other visitors. Do pre-book your tickets as space is limited due to Covid-19 safety measures.

The ArtScience Museum plans to offer other curated VR programs like documentaries, films and performances later this year. So, Red Dot Diva hopes to return for more trippy and immersive virtual adventures!

No comments:

Post a Comment