On The Town with Richard by R. A. Stermer
“I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”
Vincent Van Gogh
It is 1888 Thomas Edison meets with Eadweard Muybridge, who proposes a scheme for sound film. Handel's Israel in Egypt is recorded onto wax cylinder at The Crystal Palace in London, the earliest known recording of classical music. Louis Le Prince films the first motion picture: two seconds and 18 frames in length. Irving Berlin and Harpo Marx are born. And Vincent Van Gogh is in France working to express himself through painting. He is driven, perhaps obsessed, “I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.” - Vincent Van Gogh
Fast forward to the 20 teens and Massimiliano Siccardi is working to express himself through digital art to bring the life and work of Vincent Van Gogh to life in an immersive experience which becomes the Van Gogh Exhibit. The end result, as seen in Los Angeles, is an enveloping journey of sight and sound into the world of Vincent Van Gogh as interpreted through this work of Massimiliano, composer Luca Longobardi and a team of others. It’s wonderful! Evocative! Emotional! And Inspiring!
The challenge with interpreting other’s work is, minimally, to stand on their shoulders without distorting their vision and, optimally, to provide a window into the work in a way that’s artistic in its own right. Here the creators accomplish the later. This approach to an immersive experience has been used before from Cinerama to Disneyland’s America The Beautiful and California Adventure’s Soaring attractions, Soaring Over California and Soaring Over The World.
Perhaps something of why this attempt succeeds so well is the subject matter, impressionist art. The exhibit constructs and deconstructs digitally animated versions of the artist’s works on the walls and floor of 2 large warehouse sized spaces. This is accompanied by a score comprised of instrumental and vocal works borrowed and original, played through
an excellent sound system, picture the Memorex chair ad. The air in the space is fresh and chilled to create the feel of a cool cave. The environment where Massimiliano said he first got the inspiration for his first immersive exhibit. The Lascaux cave in France.
Don’t miss this! There is a future here. It is the future of exhibition. It’s something of what is going to get people away from their small screens and out into the world. The presentation is timed at 35 minutes and runs on a continuous loop. The experience is one way with no going back. So, don’t miss the photo opportunities as you walk through particularly the hallway of frames as you first enter. Refreshments are before you enter the exhibit so partake then. Once inside, you can stay as long as you like, but after you Exit Through the Gift Shop*, you ain’t going back.
Now, I understand what you tried to say to me And how you suffered for your sanity And how you tried to set them free They would not listen, they did not know how Perhaps they'll listen now
From Starry, Starry Night by Don McClean
*A very cool documentary film by the artist Banksy.