Augmented reality, Zoom, Web 3.0 and Mozilla Hubs are some of the digital gateways to experiencing sculptural and architectural artistic expressions.

How can an art museum leverage technology to bring creative works to life in a way that also captures the essence of the building’s structure, philosophy and surrounding environment?

Using Web 3.0, Mozilla Hubs and augmented reality devices, the Whitney Museum of American Art hosted its inaugural immersive art experience, “Refigured: A Virtual Conversation and Tour”, through videos, animations, sculptures, and augmented reality to encourage visitors to reflect on the interactions between physical and digital materiality.

According to the museum, the exhibition involves the concept of “refiguring”: appropriating material forms and bodies to re-create and reinvent them in a process of imagining alternative worlds as a means for constructing identity.

As part of the virtual immersive experience, Christiane Paul, Curator of Digital Art Experience, Whitney, leads several artists in conversation, encouraging them to discuss their work, with visitors invited to watch a livestream of the event on Zoom and explore the artworks in the virtual event space following the conversation.

“As digital technology increasingly intersects with our daily lives and shapes them, we are excited to offer public programs in a virtual world that reflects on this evolution and lends itself to the artists’ work,”

The design of the virtual space for the museum’s inaugural Refigured event sets the scene for countless possibilities in which the audience can reimagine how they experience art without the constraints of physical space and being.

Whitney Museum virtual art event
The landing page of the virtual art event features instructions for simple mouse and keyboard navigation inside the tour

The fully digital event was conceptualized by the creative teams of Design Bridge and Partners based in Singapore, New York and São Paulo. According to Jessica Tan, Digital Creative Director in the firm’s Singapore office:

“Digital experiences can be just as real as physical ones, and it is fascinating to explore how traditionally physical brands can now express themselves creatively when extending their brand into these new worlds.”

The event’s 3D virtual space incorporates light, reflections and material cues from the real world, using asymmetrical forms and industrial structures to achieve a sculptural presence while embracing the limitless nature of the digital realm.