ALIA KAWAR FOR THE HOYA

As a young girl waved her arms in a slow, circular motion, her movements were mirrored onto an interactive wall: Waves of fluorescent colors appeared against the constantly turning cherry blossoms. This young girl, and others of all ages, were interacting with the art, coming up with movements of their own as peaceful piano and water sound effects echoed in the background.

Currently on display at Artechouse, the “Sakura Yume // Cherry Blossom Dream” installation coincides with the 2018 National Cherry Blossom Festival along the Tidal Basin. The installation consists of four galleries and features three artist groups’ — Noirflux, Storylab, and Karan Parikh and Nathan Solomon — interpretations of the cherry blossom experience.

Since its opening in June 2017, Artechouse, a Washington, D.C. gallery that combines art, science and technology, has hosted more than 100,000 visitors, according to the New York Times. Its immersive installations are the next level of the art world — one dependent on technology to create an environment in which the viewer is encouraged to become a part of the art.

Art director and founder of Artechouse Sandro Kereselidze described the exhibit’s goals, saying that by “being heavily invested in the D.C. art and culture over the past nine years and having called D.C. home for over 24 years, we wanted to create an installation that would be very representative of our home city.” From this representative desire came “Sakura Yume // Cherry Blossom Dream.”

As spectators move from the 270-degree interactive room to a small, pitch-black room that features a glow-in-the dark 3D interactive sculpture of a koi pond, made by Karan Parikh and Nathan Solomon, they experience a sudden change in perspective. Rather than seeing the cherry blossoms as larger than life, the viewer now overlooks the pond and trees where the cherry blossoms once flourished.

To the left of the main gallery is a lantern alley designed by Noirflux, in which orange lanterns’ shadows follow viewers’ steps as they walk into the last gallery, “Bloom” by Storylab. This last exhibit also features an immersive food experience on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 5:30 p.m.

At the end of the alley is a more intimate setting, where visitors sit on the floor around a long white canvas table. Different sets of digital designs, ranging from butterflies in motion to Japanese trees and cherry blossom vessels, begin to appear as viewers create different gestures with their hands above the table.

With this year’s seemingly never-ending winter, Artechouse gives its audience the chance to experience spring indoors. Through interactive technology and vivid graphics, the exhibition enables viewers to fully immerse themselves in the peaceful essence of the cherry blossom season.

“Sakura Yume // Cherry Blossom Dream” is on display at ARTECHOUSE from March 15 to May 6. ARTECHOUSE is open daily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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