It's a chance to see the view that only astronauts can experience: The Infinite, the world's largest virtual reality experience to date, has opened in Montreal at the Arsenal Contemporary Art gallery in Griffintown.
Told through a combination of virtual reality, augmented reality and projections, the experience takes users on an immersive, hour-long trip aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
All told, it's an hour-long experience that includes 35 minutes of free-roaming VR—where you can physically walk through the space with a VR headset on—spread out over 12,500 square feet of rooms. That's a big deal, as most virtual reality means standing in one place or sitting in a chair; walking around makes it that much more unique.
Starting with a blast off sequence room, people equip themselves with VR headsets and are able to freely roam a room with other people in the same room. A huge 3D rendering of the space station can be explored, and users can choose to touch orbs in VR that activate stories from astronauts. You won't be bumping into anyone as you walk; people actually show up on your headset.
Afterwards, they're guided into a room—still wearing a VR headset—to sit and look at the Earth from orbit with footage that was taken from the ISS. "People will feel like they are walking in Space, seeing the planet and finally having that experience of the overview effect in a very physical and emotional way," says Felix Lajeunesse, co-Founder of Felix & Paul Studios, which was a contributor to collecting the 250 hours of footage that make up the whole experience.
Walking through mirrored corridors, user will 'land' in a room showing a trippy, digital room-sized artwork formed by an LED ceiling and mirrored floor by Ryoji Ikeda called The Universe within the Universe, a piece that was created exclusively for the experience.
"Leave Earth and see it from a whole new perspective. In a time where international collaboration is becoming more and more necessary, the lessons and human values that guide each space mission encourage us to reflect on the actions that will ensure the sustainability of our planet Earth," reads the exhibition's website.
The Infinite will run from July 21 to November 7 at Arsenal Contemporary Art in Griffintown (2020 William Street). Tickets can be purchased via the exhibit's website here.
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