What do you call an exhibit that mixes art with tech in a house? Well, there’s one fresh place in the Washington D.C area that has the same description. Artechouse is located in SouthWest Washington D.C. Artechouse brings a new, vibrant, interactive installation that leaves guests wondering how they do this and how it contributes to a modern exhibit.
First, let’s discuss the founders. Artechouse was founded by Tatiana (Tati) and Sandro in 2015. According to Artechouse’s website, Tatiana (Tati) has always been passionate about the arts. Tati was a local D.C. resident graduating from George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. She received her degree in 2007 and her MBA in 2011. Sandro was also a local D.C. resident. He was an entrepreneur that started from the ground up and helped artists find places to house and show their artwork. Sandro is a creative director for Artechouse and led the platform to showcase prominent artists like Refik Anadol, NONOTAK, Adrien M. & Claire B. just to name a few.
Artechouse’s first-ever installation opened on June 1, 2017. XYZT: Abstract Landscapes by Adrien Mondot and Claire Bardainne. The two art directors created a four-dimension interactive experience. Imagine a 4D graph. With XYZT, the guest can manipulate a piece in a horizontal direction (X) and a vertical direction (Y). They can also manipulate depth (Z) and the most surprising, time (T). Each piece that Mondot and Bardainne brought could mix and match the different dimensions or all of the dimensions. Alongside LED lights, projectors, and lots of motion sensors, visitors can move projected lines and when you walk by, it the strings shake like the strumming of a guitar. Another interaction you can experience is when you stand underneath the sensors in a box-like area, you can see many different projections and feel like you’re in there, part of the art. The most fun is when you stand in front of a screen with a sensor in front, and every movement you make either spins, time skips, or has a crazy ripple effect. These were some of the interactive arts that visitors experienced.
This was a hit in the Washington D.C. area. Ticket sales went through the roof. Social media users quickly turned into visitors, rushing to the exhibition to evaluate the hype gained on large platforms like Instagram. The black-and-white aesthetic of the installation inspired many guests to post their experiences, adding to the excitement of the newfound technological artwork. The Washington Post reviewed Artechouse by Sandie Dingfelder and she said that “ instead of fooling people with realistic digital images, they’ve created immersive environments that hover eerily between the worlds we know and the world of computers.”
She continues, “Adding to the effect, many of the installations incorporate natural sounds, such as the rustling of leaves or a quietly buzzing swarm of bees.” Not only did the installations include sight and interaction, but they also produced noise that made the experience more realistic. Dingfelder concluded that she spoke to Pastukoha and stated that “Artechouse will, like XYZT, also encourage people to experiment and play.” This left a positive note for Artechouse by D.C’s most popular publication post.
On September 3, 2017, XYZT was closed. With many visitors coming and going from near and far, this begged the question, what’s next for Artechouse? It wasn’t long before Artechouse would announce their next installation. Many guests and visitors got the idea after the announcement that this exhibit was different. Unlike museums, they might change statues, figures, and paintings around or rotate them. Every interaction is new and fresh.
On November 2, 2018, Artechouse founder Tati and media contact Emily Alli announced in a memo that Artechouse would open in Miami Beach, Florida. The memo that was released stating that “The exhibition will “soft open” on November 15 as a VIP-only preview…”. However, the full opening would be on December 8, 2018, One year and seven months after the D.C. Opening. Artechouse Miami opened with XYZT. This gave more opportunities to the guests who weren’t able to travel to D.C. for the interactive exhibit. On April 23, 2019, Tati and Media contact, Patrick Reiher, announced that they would transform New York’s infamous Boiler Room in Chelsea Market into the next home for Artechouse. Instead of opening with XYZT for the past two locations, Artechouse would open with Machine Hallucinations by artist Refik Anadol.
What makes the New York location different from its D.C and Miami location? The architecture. This location has an entrance with stairs leading down to the main exhibit holding the boiler room together with a few pillars. Once you walk down the stairs, you are immersed in a room full of moving lights on the sides of the walls, floor, and ceiling. Unlike the sister locations, the boiler room is one big room, while the Miami and D.C. location has multiple rooms that you can visit.
Visitor reviews were mainly positive. According to Yelp, the three locations average about a 3.5 star rating. A Yelper from the New York location said that “You can get some rad photos or just sit and let yourself be taken over by the visuals.” However, she continued that “The $25 price tag was too high for what it was.” This can be fair, as some comments said that their experience lasted for about 20 minutes compared to the hour the visitor paid for. These prices from each location might be a little steep depending on the installation.
Throughout the time of opening new locations, Artechouse would develop and distribute an app on the app store that would make the experience more interactive. This app brought augmented reality (AR) to the experience with themed drinks from the bar.
So how does Artechouse make a modern style installation make it appealing? It all begins with you. You as the guest experience a fresh, interactive, and creative idea. Seeing what can get you the best shots during a photo session or just hang out experiencing different phases of the art pieces. With much praise from notable publications like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and more, Artechouse stands out to be one of the most appealing museums for a new generation to explore and be creative. Tati says, “we use technology more and more in our everyday lives… Contemporary art should reflect our lives and what is happening in our society today. At Artechouse, it is our mission to educate, inspire, and empower in the creation of new art forms using the latest tools.” She notes that even though technology might be a distraction, stories can be told. Technology is one of the greatest tools we can use. Get creative.
Visit Artechouse: www.artechouse.com