Article by: Sofia Tate
Photos by: Mikko Castano & Sofia Tate
While DC is home to many historical art pieces and documents, it is also an amazing place to see modern art. Though the Hirshhorn’s visually-stimulating exhibits have been the source of many basic Insta photos, there are also a lot of really cool museums that are less documented by social media. I was lucky enough to get tickets to see “Parallel Universe” at the relatively new ARTECHOUSE, an innovative space that uses projections, lights, and sound to immerse viewers in a virtual experience. They even have a VR component that allows you to engage with the space through a phone app.
For the past few months, ARTECHOUSE has been showing “Parallel Universe,” by Ouchhh!, an exhibit that everyone should go see it while it’s in town. As you walk inside, a tour guide takes you downstairs to a set of white doors, gives you a brief rundown of what different rooms are inside, explains the VR bar with themed drinks, and warns anyone with epilepsy. Once inside, you are allowed to roam the room on your own. The main room has bean bags all over the floor so you can sit and immerse yourself in the quickly-changing projections all over the walls. The speakers are booming ominous sounds, and the only light in the room comes from the the projectors.
In a separate room, there is a special exhibit that allows only a few people at a time to see the light show themed around Orion’s belt and its interactions with the pyramids of Giza. Another room has a metal dome on the floor, with continually changing floor projections showing the topography of New Mexico. I found this room to be the most impressive of the three, mostly because I was trying to figure out how it could possibly show the topography of New Mexico. Maybe some art is lost on me.
If you are looking for something to do on a weekend afternoon, I would highly suggest you spend a couple hours inside the ARTECHOUSE, although it may only feel like thirty minutes while you are inside. It was a fun way to be fully immersed in an art piece, and the projections were completely mesmerizing. Plus there are bean bags; you can’t go wrong with art that provides comfortable seating.