Art Basel Opened to a Mind-Bending Virtual Reality Spectacle

Art Basel Opened to a Mind-Bending Virtual Reality Spectacle

Artsy, Soundcloud, and Gucci put on the exhibition of the future.

Artsy, Soundcloud, and Gucci put on the exhibition of the future.

Text: Thomas Freeman

Although techies remain fixated on VR headsets and what they portend for the entertainment industry, potential for virtual reality is boundless. Case in point: an opening-night exhibition at Miami Art Basel signaled the immersive and exhilarating possibilities that lie ahead for the art world.

Staged by Artsy, SoundCloud and Gucci, the Collective Reality exhibition took place Wednesday night inside Faena Art’s Time Capsule, a geodesic dome built on Miami Beach. Artworks were projected onto the dome ceiling and then transformed into virtual-reality experiences through animation, motion tracking, and avatar puppeteering technologies. As spectators gawked at the kinetic visuals of VR artists Rachel Rossin, Jon Rafman and Jacolby Satterwhite, singer ABRA performed her dark and synthy R&B live for added hypnotic effect.

We can only hope nausea and epilepsy warnings were given out beforehand.

While virtual reality provides a heady rush in any form, the exhibition demonstrated it can be enjoyed communally in large groups, as opposed to the forced isolation of the headset. “We were excited about the opportunity to extend the artwork, incorporating a dynamic musical collaboration, to surround the audience and create a collective experience,” Elena Soboleva, Artsy’s Curator of Special Projects, said in a statement.

The head-spinning spectacle of Collective Reality, which drew guests like Derek Blasberg and Chloe Wise, could be emulated at future fashion shows, plays or concerts.

Credits: Images courtesy Silvia Ros for Artsy

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