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Digital Artists to Take Over a 12,000 sq. ft. Warehouse in Chicago

VR and projection mapping collide in the Windy City for Sub Chroma 2016.
Screencaps by the author, via

 A team of technicians and designers are putting together a monumental art and technology event in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood that will feature physical as well as virtual galleries at Moonlight studios. The 2016 Sub Chroma exhibition will take over the 12,000 sq. ft warehouse to highlight a multi-media collaborative performance between a musician, a projection mapping artist, and a painter.

The innovate project is the brainchild of creatives Lefty Out There, DRMBT, and Preston Jones of Canvas, a local production house, looking to put Chicago-born creativity based on emergent technologies on the map and to offer Chicago residents new mind-bending art experiences. “Artwork is no longer experienced solely in the traditional gallery. The term 'multi-media' gets thrown around a lot, but we are attempting to live up to the potential of cross-medium collaboration," says new media artist DRMBT.


The exhibition’s physical galleries will have more conventional artworks like paintings, sculptures, and furniture created by street artist and graphic designer, lefty OUT there. The first section of the digital gallery will feature multiple individual stations where visitors will be offered VR headsets to engage with different experiences curated by the artists. In the next room, visitors strap on a HTC Vive Headset and explore a collective virtual space strewn with digital sculptures and paintings. In another section of the gallery will be an installation that allows guests to create works of their own through augmented reality. Inside the headset, visitors can paint the surfaces of the projection mapped 3D objects corresponding to their VR channel.

"By including a virtual gallery alongside tangible hung art, we hope to demonstrate immersive environments as a home for 3D and new media artwork to be considered in its natural habitat. Instead of seeing 3D work reduced to two dimensions on a screen, print or a social feed, we’re inviting guests to walk around in an environment that places them in the same three dimensional world in which the work was created,” says DRMBT.

The main room of the event will showcase the collaborative performance between record producer and DJ, Derrick Carter, projection mapping artist DRMBT (Vincent Naples), and painter lefty OUT there. Naples will have the entire room projection mapped 360 degrees; including the hanging sculptures scattered around the room created by designers Ryan Biery and Julius Torres. While Carter spins his records, lefty OUT there will be digitally painting on the objects in the room from within the VR headset. The paintings will be projected onto the surface of the structures and the audience will be able to watch his work appear in real time. Sub Chroma is meant to be a hybridization of a night time dance party, a physical art gallery, and a generative display of street art live.


Jones says, "The 'art party' can exist as more than just a vehicle for cool kids and glowing lights, but as an opportunity to engage a conversation around new technologies and collective experiences, and to carry forward the conversation that Chicago is a home for progressive work."

The video by Sebastian Hagan below is a preview of this live exhibition. Here, lefty OUT there paints inside an HTC Vive headset over the surfaces that DRMBT has mapped.

To learn more about the Sub Chroma event taking place on November 19 from 7:30pm, head over to their website.


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