We Need V-aRt Experiences

Andrew Julian
4 min readJan 12, 2022

Recently I was fortunate to attend the Van Gogh Immersive Experience and I really feel that the piece needs to be a VR experience.

The popularity of the Van Gogh exhibit is completely warranted and I thoroughly enjoyed my time. The artists are to be commended on their thoughtful audio and visual presentation of fantastic pieces of art.

My thoughts below are on how the concept could be enhanced through the utilization of VR and why this medium should become more prevalent.

Photo by Redd on Unsplash

“Immersion” vs Immersion

During my time passively exploring VR experiences, the concept of optimizing the immersive experience is often discussed. Creating an environment and experience that is seamlessly constructed to convince the user’s brain that they actually are in a different place is a very complex task. Thus the use of the “immersive” adjective for the Van Gogh exhibit was an interesting choice.

In the Van Gogh experience, the piece is projected on the four walls (and sometimes the floor) of the space.

The concept of “immersion” seems to come from the fact that the piece is “all-around” you during its presentation. I do applaud the positioning of the projectors as there were no instances of shadows on the main walls.

However, there were a few things to note for those that could be critical of the “immersion” element.

  • The floor and ceiling were not used to facilitate a full x-axis and y-axis 360-degree experience.
  • The walls were mostly clear, but doors, wall seams, exit signs, fire alarms, and fire extinguishers were clearly visible.
  • While I understand the impracticality of this one… other people.

Each of the concepts listed above is not meant to be a critique, but more of a reflection on the amount of “immersion” that is possible in a physical space in comparison to a virtual environment.

These challenges are inherent when desiging for a physical space, but are not something to be addressed as they aren’t present in a virtual environment.

Andrew Julian

Software Engineer creating products for a values aligned human experience.