Artechouse’s latest interactive art exhibit allows visitors to play in the leaves without ever leaving the gallery.
The “Spirit of Autumn” exhibit at Artechouse, which sits at 1238 Maryland Ave. SW, combines art and technology to transform each visitor into the main character of a virtual world through art they help create. In this fall themed exhibit opening Sunday, viewers get a chance to assume the role of nature by changing the environment through motion and sound sensors.
Guests control the wind that blows around the leaves and manipulates light in the side galleries, which were created by the artist collective Noirflux. Visitors can even permanently contribute to the piece by creating a leaf that is placed into the constantly growing and changing collection shown in the main gallery.
Artechouse added an augmented reality app to the guest experience for the latest exhibit. Visitors can now point their phones at the museum’s signature cocktail to interact with it digitally and watch as images leap off the phone screen and swirl around.
One of Artechouse’s founders Tati Pastukhova, who graduated from the Elliott School of International Affairs in 2007 and came back to receive a master’s in business administration in 2011, said she and her co-founder Sandro Kereselidze want to continue adapting the technology in the space.
“We use technology more and more in our everyday lives,” Pastukhova said. “And the art that is being created with technology is very reflective of that. Contemporary art should reflect our lives, what is happening in our society today.”
Lorne Covington, the creative director of Noirflux, created the “Autumn Dance” side gallery to cultivate a “feeling of exploratory play” by applying his technical capabilities to express his passion for art and dance.
“It’s very different than making a painting. It’s different when you’re trying to make things that responds to people,” Covington said. “It’s not the thing, it’s the experience of people doing the thing, and hopefully they feel while doing it.”
Covington said his primary goal when creating art is to “awaken wonder” in individuals. He said the installation itself is not as significant as people’s responses to it and the experiences they have playing with it.
The museum founders Sandro Kereselidze and Tati Pastukhova sought to provide a space for contemporary artists to showcase interactive and immersive art experiences that created more of a playground than a gallery when they opened Artechouse in June.
The current installation is the second since their opening and they already have the next two for the year planned. This exhibit features newly implemented permanent motion and sound sensors, which are meant to be built upon with the creation of more exhibits.
Their next exhibit “Kingdom of Colors” will open Nov. 10 and they plan to present a holiday themed exhibit in December, Pastukhova said. Artechouse will use the exhibit to expand their augmented reality experience, which is currently only one cocktail, but Pastukhova said they hope to continue adding augmented technology to the exhibits to add to the interactive worlds they create.
“In a sense, it’s a performance, it’s an experience where you’re the main character walking through it,” Pastukhova said.
Tickets for the exhibit are $8 for students and $12 for adults from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and $20 for adults 21 and older during the evening show from 6 to 10 p.m.