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Immersive experiences that STIRred 2019

STIR lists five of the most intriguing setups of 2019 that converge architecture, design and art to create experiences that delight the senses and inspire thought.

by STIRworldPublished on : Dec 28, 2019

From navigating labyrinthine steps to mapping escape routes, being engulfed in light to discovering spaces and objects and ideas and concepts; some of our favourite immersive experiences from the year gone by are those that have blurred boundaries between physical and virtual reality, and left visitors enthralled and awestruck.

1. VESSEL, New York, USA
by Heatherwick Studio

The copper-cladded 16-storey circular frame by Heatherwick Studio, titled Vessel, comprises 2,465 steps and 80 landings where climbing up and down its staircases creates a personal rhythm in each visitor. Nothing like it appears in photographs as the scale of the structure is enormous, empowering but pleasingly not overpowering. As one proceeds towards the entry through an elevated stone-cladded platform, the head tilts towards the sky and one is reminded of the stepwells of Modhera in Gujarat, India. Drawing inspiration from there, the structure evokes a powerful effect of the repeating steps, flights and landings that reach down to the earth.

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Vessel at the Hudson Yards, New York | STIRring Experiences | STIRworld
Vessel at the Hudson Yards, New York Image Credit: Courtesy of Getty Images

by Risa Puno

The project by artist Risa Puno, titled The Privilege of Escape , in New York’s Onassis gallery referenced escape rooms, which were aesthetically transformed into a thrilling game. Hosted in July this year, attendees to this interactive art project engaged in puzzles and activities that resemble popular board games. The narrative, about racing against time, and solving cues were all directed at stimulating people to re-contemplate how privilege functions in society. As the ability to escape is inherently a ‘privilege’, Puno interprets this word into a fun game that was both surprising and confusing. 

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The Privilege of Escape installation by artist Risa Puno at Onassis gallery in New York|  STIRring Experiences | STIRworld
'The Privilege of Escape' installation by artist Risa Puno at Onassis gallery in New York Image Credit: Adam Reich

by 11 artists’ collectives

Video, photo, motion design and sound spatialisation translated into an array of immersive digital installations at the Immersive Art Festival in Paris which was held this October. The event brought works of eleven artist collectives including Spectre Lab (France), Paul Mignot (France) and Void (Turkey). Presented by the digital art space of Atelier des Lumières, the 360 degree installations employed over 140 video projectors, 50 speakers and 3,000 sqm of projected surface that translated computer generated images into an experiential canvas.

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An artwork by Turkish studio Ouchhh at the festival | STIRrind Experiences from 2019 | STIRworld
An artwork by Turkish studio Ouchhh at the festival Image Credit: Courtesy of Ouchhh

by Paul Cocksedge

Transforming the Finsbury Avenue Square in London during the London Design Festival, the installation by digital art space of Paul Cocksedge unfurled in an undulating arrangement, its curves designed to provide spaces for people to sit on and walk under. This urban furniture had a massive scale, yet left the square totally visible, ingeniously animating the space it was set within. The wavy assembly encouraged interaction and responded to the ‘rhythm of the community’ that circulates in Broadgate, further enhancing London’s largest pedestrian-ised neighbourhood.

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Please by Seated by Paul Cocksedge | STIRring Experiences | STIRworld
'Please by Seated' by Paul Cocksedge Image Credit: Courtesy of Paul Cocksedge Studio

by Aleksandra Domanovic

The immersive art exhibition by the Serbian artist includes a site-specific sculptural installation, specially designed keeping into view the architecture and aesthetic of the Sala del Parnaso - considered to be the most beautiful room of Milan’s Galleria d'Arte Moderna. The sculpture is not visible in physical space but rather can be accessed by downloading 'The Falseness of Holes' app on their smartphones or tablets. Integrating augmented reality superimposed on the real installation, visitors are invited to explore a doctor’s clinic, a classroom, and a desert.

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The Falseness of Holes by Aleksandra Domanović | STIRring Experiences | STIRworld
'The Falseness of Holes' by Aleksandra Domanović Image Credit: Courtesy of Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro

Additionally, we explored many other exciting events that brought virtual reality and digital art in a whole new avatar. Some of these include 'Leonardo da Vinci' at the Louvre Museum, Paris commemorating 500 years of the coveted painter, artist Es Devlin’s 'Memory Palace' mapping a mammoth 3D atlas within London’s Pitzhanger Manor, and an underground exhibition titled 'It is not the end of the world' by SUPERFLEX whose darkness, cold, and the moisture enveloped the viewer in a world reminiscent of gloomy catacombs.

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