These interactive art installations have redefined the concept of a “museum,” by offering cutting-edge exhibits that utilize VR, digital components, sound, and more to immerse their patrons in otherworldly art experiences.
Let’s face it: in today’s high-tech, high-touch world, most of us don’t set out to just look at art anymore. We want to engage with it – touch it, play with it, and yes, sometimes capture the moment for Instagram. More than ever, the spectator is part of the experience, which has led to the rise of the Interactive Art Movement (“IAM” for short). Here, we profile some of the best examples of IAM venues across the country, including a handful you can experience in Noble House destinations.
Sound Lab at the Museum of Pop Culture [Seattle, WA]
Some of us weren’t born with a single musical bone in our body, but that doesn’t hold anyone back at the Sound Lab at the Museum of Pop Culture. A few highlights: the Jam Studio (record your own song with vocals and a variety of instruments, then download it); Trios (different sections for the guitar, bass, keyboard, or drums, where you’ll be guided through easy-to-learn activities); Soundproof Rooms (acoustically isolated rooms with interactive devices, gear, and instruments, where you can take a lesson, jam with friends, try vocals, or learn the art of mixing.)
Where to Stay: The Edgewater Hotel
Wonderspaces [San Diego, CA]
A touring art experience, Wonderspaces are attracting visitors in droves to cities across the United States (their exact San Diego location is soon to be announced) with fully-immersive, mind-bending art installations. The organization’s philosophy, “to create shared understanding through shared experiences,” is embodied in visually dazzling, carefully-curated pieces like the ”Submergence,” and in futuristic VR settings, like “dinner party,” a 1960s-set dinner party where a couple shares their alien-abduction story.
The Museum of Ice Cream [San Francisco, CA]
Part interactive art exhibit, part Instagram studio, part heaven (at least for those of us with a sweet tooth), the Museum of Ice Cream is exactly what it sounds like. While the word “museum” may bring to mind glass barriers between museum-goers and the artifacts, that’s not the case here. The MoIC is a series of ice cream and candy-themed rooms (a pool of sprinkles, a Pop Rocks cave, whipped cream can ring toss, etc.) filled with interactive exhibits that are designed to spark the imagination and provide the perfect backdrop for social media photos.
OneDome [San Francisco, CA]
OneDome weaves art, tech, and storytelling together in a way that would make Walt Disney proud. LMNL, a new OneDome experience that premiered at the end of 2018, features a mesmerizing maze of 14 rooms and installations that dynamically respond to its visitors. Take, for example, the “Kinetic Infinity Room”, where a visually jaw-dropping LED-mirrored room appears infinitely large. Or the “Funky Forest,” a digital forest ecosystem that features a digital waterfall that can be moved around the room with logs and other forest materials. Whereas visitors to other museums often feel alone with the art itself (likely by design), OneDome nudges you into working with others to achieve new, fun results in the exhibits.
29Rooms [2019 City TBD]
Digital media company Refinery29 burst onto the interactive art scene in 2015 with 29Rooms, which, appropriately, is made up of 29 interactive rooms or exhibits that pop up in various cities across the US. 29Rooms’s structure sets it apart from competitors: Rather than exhibits floating in and out, each year is like a season, during which, artists create under a specific theme. 2016 was Powered by the People, 2017 was Turn it into Art, and 2018 was Expand Your Reality, which featured “hands-on art making where guests become the artists and artists become performers, phone-free experiences that called for introspection or self-expression, and live performance that challenged guests to open and engage with themselves and others.” Fans are keeping a close eye on the 29Rooms Instagram to see what’s in store for 2019.