When you first put on the VR headset, you're suddenly immersed in a gray and decaying cityscape surrounded by an ocean of pink balls. This exhibition, recently opened in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province, invites visitors to "immerse" themselves in the works of artists, hoping to make people reflect on the evolution and decay of urban cities.
As something of a novelty in China, such immersive and interactive art exhibitions have become quite popular among artists and art enthusiasts over the last year or so.
"In the exhibition, each visitor can have direct access to artistic works," said Wang Xin, the designer of the show.
Artists and organizers introduce cutting-edging technologies such as visual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) to express their ideas through interactions with the audience.
Visitors took photos, videos, and even shared their experience online via a live broadcast during their visits. "It's about getting involved in the show, rather than a conventional visit to an exhibition," Wang added.
In May this year, inspired by this new art trend, the Palace Museum launched a digital exhibition of renowned ancient Chinese paintings using AR and VR technologies. Visitors took seats in a theater equipped with 3D stereo surround sound to view the vivid images and videos of the paintings. The first month saw over 350,000 visitors.
"New technology makes our collections glow again," said Shan Jixiang, curator of the museum, during the opening ceremony of the digital display. "They offer a vivid and unique experience for the public."
In 2017, immersive shows began to catch the attention of young people in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and other first-tier cities in China.
Teamlab's show was one of the earliest and most popular immersive exhibitions in Beijing. Viewers walked into the space and became part of the holographic projection.
The show refreshed the public understanding of art exhibitions after its debut. The sought-after exhibition soon became a hot topic on social media platforms.
According to statistics, Teamlab's Shenzhen stop in 2017 attracted 400,000 visitors in its first month, with an average of 2,667 visitors each day.
"The relationship between art and the audience are considered 'static' according to traditional aesthetic ideas," said Wang Chunchen who works with the art gallery of the Central Academy of Fine Arts. "In contrast, immersive exhibitions emphasize dynamic connections between the two sides."