Experiences make us happier, according to research—and more so than acquiring material objects. There are two reasons for this: one, the excitement of the anticipation of the event, and second, experiences feel more engaging because they tap into our senses in compelling ways. For example, you hear your favorite musician in concert or eat a delectable dinner at a highly-regarded restaurant.
Nowadays, you can take that experience to the next level. Multi-sensory entertainment-type experiences have recently grown in popularity. Called an immersive experience, it pulls you into a new or augmented reality, and engages multiple senses at once, typically through more than one type of technology.
As varied as the senses are that can be engaged via any experience, there is even more potential with an immersive experience. And these seven are examples of trailblazers and leaders in the immersive entertainment experiences space. These seven immersive entertainment experiences are ones you want to know about.
- Marshmallow Laser Feast: Marshmallow Laser Feast combines science, art and technology to create immersive experiences that highlight the connection between the human and natural worlds. Their most recent installation, We Live in an Ocean of Air, was exhibited in Montreal and features installations, live performances, and virtual reality. The exhibit addresses the challenges our planet faces and helps us reflect on our responsibility and dependence to the natural world.
- Meow Wolf: Meow Wolf, which is based in Santa Fe, began as a collective of artists and has since transformed into immersive environments that draw the audience in to experience first-hand. Some of Meow Wolf’s recent projects include Convergence Station (Denver) and Omega Mart (Las Vegas).
- The Void: The Void is a company that creates realistic VR experiences that blend entertainment with technology and themed attractions. These immersive experiences allow users to see, move, and even feel digital worlds as if they were really in them—think Jumanji: Reverse the Curse and Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire.
- Sandbox VR: Sandbox is a one-of-a-kind futuristic virtual reality experience for groups (think: House of Mirrors or Locked In, but better). You head to a Sandbox VR location where you can rent a room and equipment and choose from different interactive games or adventures, such as the kid-friendly Curse of Davy Jones or the more physical Unbound Fighting League. Once you’re set up, you can interact—physically—with everyone inside of these virtual worlds. Sandbox VR currently has locations in 8 U.S. states as well as locations across Canada, Asia, and Europe.
- Immersive Van Gogh: An immersive art experience that started in Paris, where it garnered over 2 million visitors, is currently traveling across 20 cities in the U.S. Created by Massimiliano Siccardi with a soundtrack by Luca Longobardi, two immersive digital art pioneers in France, the exhibition features projections animating Van Gogh’s art. The installation includes moving images that use huge scale to highlight Van Gogh’s brushstrokes, detail, and color in an unforgettable way.
- Immersive Frida Kahlo: The team behind Immersive Van Gogh has also created Immersive Frida Kahlo, which is currently being exhibited in seven states and Toronto. Much like the Van Gogh exhibit, this experience brings you inside the world of Kahlo’s art and life through large-scale projections, music, and an immersive gallery.
- Museum of Future Experience (MoFE): Based in Brooklyn, New York, MoFE is a venue and production studio that creates high-tech, immersive, and sensory virtual reality experiences. MoFe is the only dedicated space that uses Ambisonics in New York, and through this specialized sound system, listeners can experience 3D, 360-degree soundscapes and hear sounds in three spatial dimensions: left-right, up-down, and near-far. Paired with imagination-expanding virtual reality, MoFE is an all-encompassing experience that has raked in rave reviews from press and guests alike.
- Artechouse: Artechouse is a space that combines art, science, and technology. They pride themselves on expanding the creative boundaries of artists through technology and educating the public about tech-forward mediums. From a stunning cherry blossom-inspired art exhibition to a neuron-focused science exhibition, Artechouse is a global leader in educational and artistic immersive experiences. They even have an extended reality app (XR) for smartphones that allows users to experience immersive art, no matter where they’re located.
What Makes These Experiences Unique
While not all of these experiences draw on virtual reality, they all reinvent art and entertainment so that it’s immersive. The artists and creators behind these experiences not only push the intersection of technology and art to the next level, but also they’re leading the industry and challenging the status quo.