Museums and VR: a good match
Exhibitions in museums can be quite boring. Without knowledge of the context of the shown art, it is difficult (or even impossible) to grasp the depth and ingenuity of those works. You have to be open to learn about the historical, social as well as technical context to really appreciate what you are seeing or experiencing.
Sadly museums often fail to engage clueless visitors enough to spark real interest. Most visitors coming to the exhibition already have experience with the works and with museums in general, anway.
Additionally, it's quite difficult to find a format to entertain newcomers and experts. The former group wants to be guided and lectured in an entertaining way; the latter group wants to view art without being distracted.
But there are ways to open up exhibitions to everyone.
The "Max Ernst Museum Brühl des LVR" decided to add an epilogue to the already good exhibition about the works of M.C. Escher. This epilogue was called "Escher 2.0" and included Escher inspired video games and three VR experiences. Placed just outside of the main exhibition, visitors could play games like „Monument Valley“ (2014) and „The Bridge“ (2013) or have an Escher inspired experience with a VR-Headset.
The new technology sparked curiosity and visitors waited in lines to try it. Engaging with elements of Escher's work this way was totally new and opened up new perspectives.
The VR experiences were created (in a very short timespan of three weeks) just for the exhibition by students from the Cologne Game Lab (CGL) and I was one of them. My team created a "Maze of Stairs" where the player explores a floating structure. Inspired by Escher's "Relativity", the concept was to rotate the world around the player so he can walk up walls and walk down cliffs. If you want to know more, visit the project page: Maze of Stairs
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