Dreaming of Dalí (in VR)

Prepare yourself for a journey into the work of Salvador Dalí in this museum-quality VR experience.

Inception VR’s latest in-app experience is Dreams of Dalí, recreating an exhibition seen at The Dalí Museum in Florida. Allowing you to step into one of Dalí’s paintings directly, it’s a delight for art lovers and surrealists alike.

We asked a few questions of Kathy Greif, Chief Marketing Officer at The Dalí Museum in Florida, and also received a few answers from Inception VR’s CEO, Benny Arbel.

How did Dreams of Dalí come to life?

Kathy Greif, Chief Marketing Officer: At The Dalí Museum, we are always looking for ways to engage with visitors’ senses, emotions and perceptions. Looking at art can be a very moving experience. The more we can do to augment the visitor experience the better – whether that be ‘traditional’ means such as text panels and audio guides that provide information about the works or docent tours that help interpret the works, to more progressive avenues such as environmental components or interactive experiences which let visitors become more immersed in a work or the artist… they are all parts of the whole engine that creates a meaningful experience for our visitors.

The past few years we have created interactive experiences (not necessarily all digital) which we introduce with our special exhibitions. Dreams of Dalí was originally created and introduced as part of our Dalí & Disney exhibit which showcased the two artists’ friendship and collaboration. Both Dalí and Disney were interested in, and well known for, innovation. We had ‘stations’ set up for users to try the Dreams of Dalí VR experience. It was a huge hit and we’ve been working to expand its reach since.

In the new experience, viewers can step inside the 1935 painting Archeological Reminiscence of Millet’s “Angelus”. That painting is itself a reference to another painting – The Angelus by French painter Jean-François Millet (it’s actually an ‘inception’!). Was there any specific reason this painting was chosen for VR?

Left, The Angelus, by Jean-François Millet. Right, Archeological Reminiscence of Millet’s “Angelus” by Salvador Dalí.

Kathy Greif: I love that; I hadn’t yet equated the two as an inception, but right on! Archeological Reminiscence of Millet’s “Angelus” was selected for its beautiful landscape and inviting towers – both which allowed for myriad possibilities to explore – from the environmental surroundings to inside and atop the towers. Imaginations can run wild! Our collection of Dalí works gives ample opportunity for myriad directions to take and his work covers so many artistic periods and mediums – we had to start somewhere and together with the creators (Goodby Silverstein of San Francisco, CA) we felt this early work of Dalí’s was a beautiful start.

Given his unique style, do you feel Dalí’s work lends itself specifically to VR?

Kathy Greif: We imagine Dalí himself, known in his lifetime as what we now call an ‘early adopter’ of new technology, would applaud this inspiring homage to his 1935 painting. Many of Dalí’s paintings are those you can stare at for hours and continue finding new layers, plus he often played with visual illusion. Together those are ripe for VR; they kind of safely play with your mind, and VR is a bit of a mind blowing experience itself, as it takes you to another world. Plus, Dalí was really prolific in terms of the mediums he worked in – of course painting, drawing, prints & illustration, and sculpture, but also film, theatrical and fashion design – he even wrote an elaborate cookbook. He gives us so much room to explore and imagine.

Are there any references in the experience for Dalí enthusiasts?

Kathy Greif: Throughout Dreams of Dalí there are glowing spheres which let users know that’s an area to explore deeper. The entire experience is filled with Dalí references, from a ringing lobster phone and a holographic Alice Cooper – both of which are actual works that are part of The Dalí Museum collection – to inspired-by references such as the towering elephants and a jump-roping child.

Why should someone experience Dreams of Dalí on Vive?

Benny Arbel, CEO, Inception VR: Vive provides the best environment for people to experience Dreams of Dalí VR piece as it allows full immersion into Dalí’s world. We believe that the Vive and VR are the future of casual entertainment – content people can watch on their own time, in their living rooms at the end of a long day to unwind. Not only is this the future of our entertainment, this will continue to grow as one of the ways people will consume art. As our excitement threshold’s rise, this kind of immersive art experience is a wonderful way to get new and younger audiences to be captivated by art and culture.

There are two other interactive Dalí paintings accessible via Inception VR. Do you think you’ll continue to do more Dalí? Are there any other painters (or indeed, schools of art) you think would work well in VR?

Benny Arbel, CEO, Inception VR: At Inception, we hope to continue expanding our VR art collection. Dalí is a great opportunity for us to bring his dreamlike landscapes to life, and of course there are many other artists whose work would be wonderful to experience in VR. We have a strong relationship with the Dalí museums in both St. Petersburg, Florida (US) and in Figueres, Spain and together we plan to create more Dalí experiences.

We have also been working with galleries around the world to capture temporary art exhibitions to help them live on – including the Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick exhibition which took place at Somerset House in London, and the Ron Arad Curtain Call exhibition from The Roundhouse in London. Together with Time Out New York, we have also worked with the Guggenheim Museum where their curator gives users a private tour of some of her favorite pieces in the museum.

This is the first time you’ve created an in-app purchase for Inception VR. Is this something you see you’ll do more of going forward? Do you think it’s a viable revenue source for 360 filmmakers?

Benny Arbel: History has shown the people are willing to pay for great content (for example: Netflix, VOD, PPV, etc.). We think that content such as Dreams of Dalí, which is educational as well as cultural, has a clear audience that sees the value VR can bring on top of a regular 2D experience. While this is still experimental, we are quite optimistic that this will provide value for both creators and users in the future.

Kathy Greif: All proceeds from Dreams of Dalí will support the care, study, and exhibition of our collection and a wide range of education and outreach programs.

Thanks for speaking with us!

Dreams of Dalí is available as an in-app purchase within Inception VR, which is available on Viveport. In-app purchases can be made via the Viveport Wallet, which can be topped-up here.