#VR, Wearable Tech, Blurred Boundaries: “Animated Wonderworlds”

Surpassing the limits of our physical state has been a quest for humanity throughout the ages. Technological advancements allow us to question boundaries and achieve certain “dream states” that spring from realms of invention and imagination. Our perceptions are heightened, and we feel we can transcend our own mortal constraints, becoming greater than our individual selves.

The exhibit “Animated Wonderworlds” at the Museum für Gestaltung — Schaudepot captivates all the senses, allowing us to escape into a fantastical realm, in which we can actively question our own concept of reality.

If this all sounds abstract and impossible to imagine, think of it this way: in what other exhibit could you experience motion-capture for FIFA, philosophies of Noam Chomsky conceptually animated by Michel Gondry, vivid videos of protein cells used by Harvard, and flight simulation, where you can feel like a bird soaring through the skies of New York City? I tried the flight simulator myself, and it was incredible — I needed a second round in order to lengthen the rush. Truly, there’s something for every personality to appreciate at this exhibit, which manages to encompass topics with widely varying degrees of tone and mood.

Yes, I played Birdwoman, flying around New York City

On a somber note, the animated documentary “Guantánamo Bay — The Hunger Strikes” takes us inside the detention camp, as other recordings were restricted. Here, animated technology serves to advance social justice and promote understanding of human conditions.

In wearable technology trends, Katy Perry and other celebs have flocked to future-fashion-forward brand “Cute Circuit”, which sews LEDs into fabrics, for an eye-catching look that has a futuristic-hip feel (see pictures). This allow wearers to activate apps to display custom messages and designs, altering the look according to personal taste.

Different forms and functions of wearable tech can also be used to promote a better quality of life for users, enhancing the senses. Not only can you read about these up-and-coming devices, you can see them on display, and experience them firsthand. Truly, it’s something awe-inspiring, getting to witness how fashion devices are becoming a way to augment and enhance our lives.

“At the end of the day, we try to make dreams become a reality,” museum director Christian Brändle explains. Entrancing and fantastical, this exhibit is one that lends futuristic phantasmagoric concepts a dose of humanity, bringing them to the close level of our senses, letting us connect on a human scale. From abstraction to hyperrealism, what emerges is an overall motif that goes much deeper than gimmicks and gadgetry: we connect on an emotional level, with empathy at the heart.

Suzanne Buchan, co-curator of the exhibition, says that animation affects and helps the way we feel, “allowing our imagination to visualize something that can’t be expressed otherwise… It combats loneliness, bringing us together.” This is mindfulness at the core level — the ability to deeply experience the here and now, with a sense of presence, actively engaging with our environment, and advancing toward the future with authenticity. “Animated Wonderworlds” opens up those possibilities, showing what could be achieved when we dream of the connections. It’s a trip to another dimension, and the journey is the reward.

Actively animate in 3-D; I was enraptured

Practical Information:

“Animated Wonderworlds” was on display until 6 January, 2016 at the Museum für Gestaltung, Schaudepot, located in Toni-Areal, Pfingstweidstrasse 96, 8005 Zürich

For hours, prices, and other details, visit: www.museum-gestaltung.ch

Insider Tip: If you have extra time, hang out in the lobby area of the building, where the high, open ceilings create the perfect atmosphere for graphics and design sensibility.

Note: Article previously published in Girlfriend Guide to Zurich

Selfie of a digitized sensor