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Van Gogh Immersive Experience York.

“Art is to console those who are broken by life.” V. Van Gogh

This week I went to York to St Mary’s on Castlegate to see the Vincent Van Gogh Immersive Experience.

The whole of the Nave and Chancel of the church was used for the 360-degree projection. Deckchairs and benches were arranged so that viewers could sit back, relax and fully enjoy the imagery and music.
The show was not linear and as it was played on a continuous loop people could join at any point. The film showed many of his paintings, obviously massively enlarged and slightly animated.

In “Wheatfield with Crows” the crows flew across the sky, giving the impression that they were flying around the church. In “Almond Blossoms” the branches quiver in the spring breeze. While in “Starry Night over the Rhone” the lights on the harbour slowly come on as the night draws in.

In one respect it could be viewed as “dumbing down” the artwork, but I found it offered a different angle with which to view well known pictures afresh. Along with the beauty and natural tranquillity of the church, the reduced lighting, the music and the subtle narration (excerpts from Vincent’s letters to his brother Theo, all combined to make it a pleasant experience.
Alongside the projection, a reconstruction of Vincent’s bedroom in the yellow house was also on display.

However, it was the VR (Virtual Reality) experience that I found entrancing. Each person is seated in a swivel chair with a VR headset and headphones on.

The pretext is that you are visiting Vincent in the yellow house. The action begins in his bedroom, you walk down the stairs and out on to the street. Vincent takes you through the countryside, into the town and down to the harbour. As the “walk” unfolds Vincent talks to you about the views and colours that inspired him to create his key paintings. The VR headset affords a complete 360-degree view in all directions including above and below as well as around.
The whole thing was well presented, enjoyable and strangely soothing.


Published by stweddle

Living in Newcastle I have access to great landscape; sea, urban, country and city which I am continually inspired by. Starting my artistic qualification in my 50's allows me the benefit of long years admiring others art and a burning need to create my own.

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