Putting my finger on what’s been missing.

To be clear, I have a massive appreciation for art, but unfortunately have always found myself bored in silent, delicate museums with old paintings limited to a dull color palette. When I discovered these sense-heightening experiences that take you away from our screen-driven world, I rejoiced. Although I couldn’t put my finger on what these classic exhibits lacked for me, someone else understood what would set my mind free.

These exhibits are nicknamed “immersive installations” for their interactive, crafted features. It is the combination of color, sound and feel that fully capture its visitors in a delirious canvas. These exhibits often feature a collaboration of artists, with different areas of expertise, that compile their work to inspire various “projects.”
Because you are no longer simply an onlooker, your surroundings might mimic those of the bottom of Alice’s rabbit hole, or a dream you once had that you could fly. The immersions keep all ages in mind, and your typical museum rules are out the window. The oils on your fingers will actually do some good here; the exhibits are made to be touched.

For those who prefer a hands on approach to their artistic encounters, an immersive museum called Meow Wolf is worth the road trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Its reputation of immaculate neon feng shui and mysterious multidimensional fit into the featured projects “House of Eternal Return” and “Glitteropolis.” Like these, each individual immersive exhibit inside Meow Wolf is crafted to be touched, climbed on, altered and taken in by anyone who needs a break from the real world. The ceiling of the museum is the only physical limit to what these exhibits can whisk you away to.

However, to touch, or not to touch, is the real question here. If you are not looking to fully trust-fall into the fingerprints of those before you, the Rain Room previously featured at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art might be your preferred escape. Courtesy of 3D technology and motion sensors, you could walk through a rainstorm, but the flow of water will stop as you are detected. Without ever getting wet, 528 gallons worth of recycled water showered around you during your experience in the infinite downpour. So go ahead, stick your hand out.

Lucky for the intrigued consumer, some installations are globally accessible. These may feature exhibits as exotic as life-size, ground-bound clouds, or a classical English cathedral with added colorful, immersive art instilled in its ancient walls. Whether it’s one of these modern expositions in Paris, Tokyo or Los Angeles, the experience is not going to disappoint- it appears that high standards are encouraged.

The ingenious idea to engulf a person in what the inside of an artist’s mind looks like creates an interesting sense of unity. It bonds two people who may never meet, but over beauty that the hands of someone who had something to say, crafted for other curious minds. Those who appreciate tiny lines on a large canvas, or the smallest detail of a giant sculpture, will find tranquility in the way these artists built their sanctuary for others to love too. These tangible, consumer-appealing pieces of culture are popping up all around the world and deserve to be dissected under your spotlight.

Art in the last decade has evolved into tangible, memorable excursions that are guaranteed to raise the hair on your arms. The only crime in this progressive movement is the curious consumer not taking advantage of it. Artists from all over the world have managed to capture some of the most mesmerizing sensations this planet has to offer, magnified. The gas, plane ticket, or jet lag could be very well worth the euphoric art experience the world is not yet familiar with.

The reviews from audiences are overflowing with awe after experiencing the creativity of these installations firsthand. Consider using your vacation days! Escape to an immersive experience! How great would it be to make traditional, rigid trips to do-not-touch museums a thing of the past and embrace experiential design?

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