If you could do it all again, would you rather view a painting simply hung on a wall or would you prefer to be immersed in the art?
“If you could do it all again
A little fairy dust
A thousand tiny birds singing
If you must, you must”
—Thom Yorke, excerpt of “Dawn Chorus” (2019)
To stand before the original “The Starry Night” would be impressive; but, to experience this masterpiece by Vincent van Gogh moving everywhere would be immersive.
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“I love Immersive Van Gogh because I am in the paintings and part of them! I like the layers of art moving in different directions. There is so much to see. The music is beautiful!”
One day, when I was making the bed or folding my underwear, I don’t know which, one day blurs into another these days, I heard a familiar song playing from the TV. I turned to see a commercial. But it wasn’t the commercial I expected. Or the imagery. The song was the same. But what I saw was totally unexpected. “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” (No, I Regret Nothing) by Édith Piaf, a 1960 recording, was playing. Instead of seeing a bewildered little girl watching a gelatin mold shimmy on the roof of a moving vehicle, I saw something amazing. I dropped everything and stepped closer. I wanted to step into the TV, and into the scene. I saw my first glimpse of Immersive Van Gogh.
Now, I can recall details from the past with incredible accuracy, but I can’t remember what was said a few minutes ago. I’m the boring version of “Memento.” Somehow this time I spun up my wax cylinder to make a mental note. I wanted to see Immersive Van Gogh. I wanted to be surrounded by Van Gogh’s masterpieces. I needed to feel alive again.
Lisa, my mom, and our friend Tracy ventured on a Saturday morning to a new place in the city to see something new. We were starving for excitement. Lighthouse ArtSpace at Germania Club in Chicago was the destination. The real journey of self-exploration through Van Gogh’s artistic expression was neither the end nor the means, but the beginning.
As we took our first step into the large expansive gallery room, the digital video, designed and conceived by Massimiliano Siccardi, was playing. Van Gogh’s art was alive, moving in time with the music of Luca Longobardi, Thom Yorke, Édith Piaf, and others. I felt my senses coming back to life.
“I have to use the word AMAZING! Immersive Van Gogh really is. There is so much to look at and take in all at once, very colorful and such bright colors. I love how they take one color and blend it in to the next one. The floor is amazing too. This is much more impressive than standing in a museum and staring at a painting!”
The digital projections were cast with such precision that never once did I perceive a light on me or discover the source. The edges of each individual projection were perfectly framed for each floor or wall, even going around radiator boxes. The technical expertise was beyond what I thought could be achieved. Once we settled in, we explored the large expansive gallery room, another large room, and a couple smaller but cozy rooms that felt like private exhibitions.
The details of Van Gogh’s life, told through the sequence of his paintings, and the details of his paintings, were shown with inspiring choreographed music and stunning visual clarity. We had arrived midway through the projection, and we could stay as long as we wanted, so we stayed through the next showing to complete the loop and see the projection in its entirety. The audience applauded heartily after each showing as the credits rolled and the music rose to a crescendo.
I felt so moved and inspired. The scenery and music were breathtaking. It felt so good to be around people again. We all wanted to feel alive again. Art and music bring people together. These creative media stir our emotions and excite our imaginations. Immersive Van Gogh was invigorating, stirring, and almost overwhelming. Everything was poured into the experience right to the brim. I understand now that this is how Van Gogh lived his life and created his art. He wasn’t perfect, but he came so close to perfecting his art. Being this close to reliving his life experience was intensely stimulating. If I could ask Van Gogh, “If you could do it all again, would you change anything?” His reply might be, “No, I regret nothing.”
“Immersive Van Gogh is very cool and very well done! I love the music and everything about it. I really like it from every perspective. I would like to see a documentary about how they set it all up. It is incredible!”
We started our Saturday with Immersive Van Gogh. How would we spend the rest of the day? Reliving it and talking about it! Tracy: “I have to use the word AMAZING! Immersive Van Gogh really is. There is so much to look at and take in all at once, very colorful and such bright colors. I love how they take one color and blend it in to the next one. The floor is amazing too. This is much more impressive than standing in a museum and staring at a painting!” Mom: “I love Immersive Van Gogh because I am in the paintings and part of them! I like the layers of art moving in different directions. There is so much to see. The music is beautiful!” Lisa: “Immersive Van Gogh is very cool and very well done! I love the music and everything about it. I really like it from every perspective. I would like to see a documentary about how they set it all up. It is incredible!” And me: “Immersive Van Gogh shows his life story through his paintings! I feel so inspired from the movement choreographed to the music. They use different techniques to show his paintings. Some rise up vertically or slide while others are splashes of color. I want to learn more about Van Gogh!”
Vincent van Gogh lived a brief but brave life. Van Gogh struggled with his personal issues as he mastered his art. Although we cannot paint such masterpieces, we overcame the challenges of these times to build-up a crescendo for a picture perfect day. Immersive Van Gogh is the canvas. You provide the colors. Feel alive again.
“If you could do it all again
This time with style”
To learn more or plan your visit to Immersive Van Gogh – Exhibit Chicago, click Immersive Van Gogh – Exhibit Chicago
To experience an amazing dynamic presentation of Immersive Van Gogh, click on the link to my Adobe Spark photoblog at Adobe Spark – Immersive Van Gogh
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