IP+digital tech - Immersive exhibitions make a splash in town

Writer: Zhang Yu  | Editor: Doria Nan  | From: Shenzhen Daily | Updated: 2019-03-12

Featuring familiar characters, fantastical scenes, and interactive games enabled by digital technologies, a frenzy of immersive exhibitions is sweeping Shenzhen.

A visitor at an exhibition.

From the recently concluded “Alice: The Return to Wonderland” to the ongoing exhibitions “The Minions” and “Boba Room” at OCT Harbor, immersive exhibitions as an art form have brought Shenzhen residents new options for leisure and entertainment.

“We had no idea that the number of people visiting the exhibition would be so much higher than we had expected. According to the most conservative estimate, the number of visitors has exceeded 60,000,” said Wang Geng, referring to the fairytale-themed digital art exhibition “Alice: The Return to Wonderland.”

Wang is the founder of local cultural and creative company Hello Tale. “Media exposure on Xiaohongshu, WeChat, Weibo and other networking platforms exceeded 10 million views. People discussed the exhibition as a phenomenon,” Wang added.

Shenzhen was the first leg of the exhibition’s tour in China, and the exhibition’s success in the city has made Wang confident in future plans for more tours. “This exhibition will open in Chengdu in April. In fact, during the exhibition in Shenzhen, companies from all across the country have come to us. This year, the exhibition will be displayed in at least eight to 10 places.”

“Alice: The Return to Wonderland” was created by Hello Tale and Hello Computer, a Russian technical team. The exhibition introduced the world-famous fairytale “Alice in Wonderland” and adapted it to the “phygital” (physical+digital) concept for the first time. It crossed the boundary of virtual and reality and rebuilt the fairytale world full of fantasies. The exhibition made its debut in Shenzhen last October and was expected to end in January, but it was extended twice until the Lantern Festival in mid-February due to its popularity.

Since last year, several exhibitions incorporating famous IP (intellectual property) and digital technology for scene reproduction have been held in Shenzhen, including the ongoing “The Minions” and “Boba Room.”

In these kinds of exhibitions, the audiences are no longer passive viewers, but active participants. Photography, painting, interaction and games have become the main ways of viewing them.

According to Wang, viewers of the “Alice” exhibition can be divided into two categories: 65 percent of them are parents and children under 12 years old. What touched him was that many parents went to the exhibition with their children wearing Alice skirts. “I didn’t expect that in Shenzhen, watching the exhibition becomes such a ritual thing.”

The other 35 percent are trendy young people who are keen on Russian innovation and novel technologies.

Though exhibitions still take up a small share in the market compared with movies, dramas and concerts, Wang is very confident about the market prospects of immersive exhibitions.

“Digital art exhibitions will not be outdated in the short run due to the unique attractiveness of new technologies. With the progress of science and technology, such exhibitions can even be presented in more colorful forms in the long run,” he said.