At first glance SuperReal—an enormous, immersive visual art exhibition which opened this week in the historic Cunard Building near the end of Broadway—seems like it might just be another Insta-bait pop-up looking to take your money in exchange for a few good selfies. In the entranceway, for example, you have to bushwhack your way through one of those forests of hanging, pulsating plastic rods, a pretty common prop at these sorts of installations. And maybe it is that!
But this multimedia spectacle, created by the entertainment studio Moment Factory, feels a little different. It uses cutting edge digital mapping technology to transform every inch of the 12,000 foot Grand Hall (from the vast mirrored floor to the 30-foot vaulted ceiling) into… well, into a constantly changing array of very cool environments. Put your phone down and just relax and trip out to the show.
The exhibition is divided into several spaces. There are three small ancillary rooms aswirl with a galaxy’s worth of laser-generated “stars,” and these are pleasantly disorienting. There’s a large introductory area divided up by a curving, Richard Serra-looking maze (made of corrugated cardboard though, not rusted steel) featuring two interactive dance pads. Jump around on these and your shadow does all kinds of crazy, colorful things on the facing walls.
But the real action is in the final room, Cipriani 25 Broadway’s massive, ridiculously ornate Grand Hall, which was, amazingly enough, the ticketing lobby back when Cunard ran the place. The basic structure of SuperReal involves five different “Dreams,” each with a gorgeous, impressively intricate light show that interplays with the architectural details of the entire space, all accompanied by loud, sometimes dance-driven, sometimes moody, music.
There are huge bean bag pads on which you can just chill upon, and dozens of oversized balloons to bounce and kick around everywhere adding to the visual spectacle. The whole show lasts 45 minutes.