By Chirali Sharma
Liv’ED It is an ED original style where we write about our personal experiences on experiencing and reviewing any app/place/website which gives us a feeling of coming back for more.
The Van Gogh 360 exhibition is a pretty talked about event, due to the ‘immersive’ experience with the celebrated Dutch artist’s work being projected from floor to ceiling and creating a 360-degree effect of actually being inside the art itself.
It seems to be one of the most anticipated events with thousands of aesthetic images being posted on Instagram from the exhibit. This is why out of sheer curiosity I too decided to attend one of the last few shows in Delhi before it travelled over to start next in Bangalore, Karnataka soon.
Honestly, the experience was not half as immersive as it was hyped and let me tell you how I thought it was a total waste of time and money.
The event was held at the DLF Surface, Parking Lot 5 and went on from Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 9.30 pm. The ticket prices were Rs. 1099 and Rs. 1499 for weekdays and weekends respectively.
One of the first things that irked me was the limitation to only buy the ticket from the online ticketing portal Bookmyshow. The fact there was no way to buy it physically on the site itself, or at least it wasn’t written anywhere online that one could buy them from the exhibit site itself.
The place is pretty easy to reach through both metro and cab, and you can see large banners of the exhibit leading the way.
Once at the entrance gate, you show your ticket where the QR code is scanned and you’re asked what time slot you’d picked for the exhibit.
However, it was from here itself that I saw the first glimpse of the horrendous organisation of the event, since as soon as I arrived, the person at the gate just simply asked me if I had a ticket and allowed me in without even looking.
It was only once I was inside that someone came running after me to scan my ticket.
Upon arriving inside you see a large booth by Absolut one of the organisers and a small lounge area to sit along with some places to click photographs at.
Walking along, you come to the first section, where large panels were installed that took people on a brief walk through Vincent Van Gogh’s life, his art, his trials with mental health, his relationship with his brother and his eventual death.
Once you’ve circled it you get to the main immersive exhibit door where a person sitting there lets you in once it’s time.
However, again the lack of organisation showed as there were no overhead announcements for which show was starting, no line or que of any kind, people were just collecting in a large, unorganised group, blocking other people’s way in the installations and just milling about waiting to enter.
You were just supposed to stand literally right in front of the door like during peak time metro or a bus hoping you’d get entry and not as if this was some classy event.
The person at the door didn’t even give a loud call that so and so time show was starting so people could collect at the door, no at all, that would be too much it seems.
Once inside though you were led to the main exhibit part where a large space in the center was cleared out with a few beanbags and stools placed if people wanted to sit on those if they didn’t prefer the floor.
The actual projection was around 30 minutes or so, but you could sit there for at least an hour and just take it all in.
Perhaps this was the only thing that wasn’t badly organised, with the experience being actually nice. The music along with the animations added to the art and the way it led from dark and turbulent times in Van Gogh’s life to his cheery art pieces and more was a very innovative way of experiencing art.
But even here, the fact that the roof was not covered instantly broke the so-called 360-degree immersion. It would have been nice if the roof was also covered by screens with the art projected on it to truly make one feel as if they were submerged in the art.
But honestly, more than anything it felt like an utter waste of your money and total ripoff where it’s basically just a place to go and have endless photoshoots for Instagram, and that’s it.
The roof being exposed and the many, many people stuffed into the room really broke the immersion. At one point, there were 50–60 people in the room and so many times you couldn’t even see the screens properly.
Personally, the actual show wasn’t the worst, it could have been made truly immersive.
A few ways I felt this could have been done is:
- Covering the roof with panels and projecting the art on it too
- Keeping the guards outside the main area and not have them roaming all around
- Giving headphones to the attendees so it would create a greater and more enhanced audio-visual stimulation
- Limiting the number of people inside the room at one point to not more than 20 or so. This would have let one immerse themselves into the art even more without so much of a crowd around.