Photo: Hasnain Bhatti
Photo: Hasnain Bhatti

Immerse Yourself in Fall with ARTECHOUSE’s SPIRIT OF AUTUMN

Have you ever walked into an art gallery or museum and felt like you just didn’t get it? Maybe it wasn’t your kind of art, or maybe staring at a painting just isn’t your thing. But what if you had a hand in shaping the piece? That is exactly what the creative team at ARTECHOUSE is allowing its audience to do.

The digital art gallery will be opening its second-ever art installation to the public on October 1, inspired by the upcoming fall season. Named SPIRIT OF AUTUMN, the exhibit is a large-scale seasonal installation using projection systems from SILA SVETA, interactive wall technology and graphics from A-BLOK, and interactive floor projections from NOIRFLUX. When creating the installation, the ARTECHOUSE team really wanted to emphasize collaboration and community, and make it so that audiences could physically see how they influenced the piece.

“Walking by a painting, we have an appreciation for it, but we have difficulty connecting to it,” says the gallery’s managing director, Tatiana Pastukhova. “I think in general as humans we need to have a connection of a certain sort, and technology and interactions, they simplify that for us. Being able to move about with the piece creates a more meaningful experience.”

Audiences of all ages can participate in the community-oriented SPIRIT OF AUTUMN. After walking down the stairs of the ARTECHOUSE gallery, participants will find themselves in a large room that’s three-fourths surrounded by a screen with a large tree in the center and swirling leaves all around. Take a step to the right and see leaves take shape to match your outline. Take a step to the left and hear rain start to fall as you make noise. Near the big tree in the center, a foggy outline of your shape will form the closer you get, and start a thunderstorm if you clap your hands. As the sun sets outside in the real world, so will the daylight on the exhibit screens.

On either side of the room are hallways that lead to further interactive wonders. On the right is a small room that pours out pools of color as you walk and move your arms. The hallway to the left boasts a floor of fall foliage that follows you as you walk. At the end of this hall is a room decorated with leaves, where participants can color a paper leaf that will become part of the art installment after it’s dropped in a slot near the room entrance.

“The idea was to thematically match the celebration of the new season, and to make people immersed into something they’ve never experienced before,” says art director Sandro Kereselidze. “You have one experience outside, and then you step in here and have a completely different experience.”

After exploring the exhibit, adults can enjoy the fall-themed SPIRIT OF AUTUMN cocktail made with hibiscus, fall seasonal herb lemongrass, Pimm’s liqueur and Georgia (the country) brandy Chacha with an edible leaf-printed wafer floating on top. Oh and that wafer? It’s also a hologram. Download the ARTECHOUSE app, point your phone at the drink and see a swirling mass of leaves floating above the glass.

Check the exhibit out before it closes on November 5. But if you miss it, no worries. ARTECHOUSE will have other seasonal experiences, including one centered on the winter holidays, and a DC-themed spring installation. Tickets are $8-$20, and times vary (different hours for all ages and 21+). Go to the website for more details.

ARTECHOUSE: 1238 Maryland Ave. SW, DC; www.artechouse.com

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Natalia Kolenko

Natalia is a George Mason University alum who studied Journalism and Environment Science and Politics. She combines her background in news reporting with her love for music, art and culture to write pieces on a variety of topics. Addicted to travel, X-files and concerts.