The Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres was built and curated by the artist himself - the final great project of his life. The museum is full of oddities and surprises - a room in which the furnishings resolve into the face of Mae West when viewed from the right angle... moving mechanical pieces of art... cars in the rain (but where the rain is inside the car, not outside it) - a confounding of expectations and perspectives around every corner. Everything in the museum would warrant exploration and investigation.
Working with the museum, we chose to start with the classics, and to bring the 'Treasure Room' into virtual reality. The room houses some of Dalí's most famous paintings, including two that we chose to actually travel into - Leda Atomica, and Port Alguer.
Once you're in the room, you can choose any painting to hear more about it, and the two paintings we chose have short films attached, in which you can travel through them, hearing about their history & composition, and find a truly new perspective to view them from.
We went through a huge variety of approaches on this project, and a little of everything we tried found its way into the final piece. Initially CGI wasn't to play a large role - but in the end product it's the linchpin of the piece. My favourite moments remain the transitions between the CGI exploration of the paintings, and the 360° video footage of the locations that inspired them. Seeing the painting dissolve into the actual landscape in virtual reality brings an extra level of empathy with the original painting - and feeling like you're there as it happens is playing on one of the key powers of VR.
Dali himself played with stereoscopy and holograms, I'd love to know what he'd have done with VR had he had the opportunity to work with it.
Big shouts outs on this project to Thierry Pul, from Purple Pill VR, whose camera and expertise we used for the video shoot elements. Daniel Landau, our Creative Director at Inception, was responsible for turning the project from a fairly literal museum piece into the much more interesting and engaging content it became. And Effi Wizen and his team did an unbelievable job of taking us through the paintings.
And if you ever happen to find yourself in Barcelona - do consider the trip out to Figueres. It's a lovely little town, and the museum is well worth the day trip, with high-speed trains making it very simple and speedy.
PS - if you do get to watch the full version, keep an ear out for the narrator. You might recognise his dulcet tones.
PPS - you can pick up the Inception app, with this and other experiences in it, for free at this link.