When the Dali Museum in St Petersburg Florida put up the "Disney and Dali: Architects of the Imagination" exhibit this month, visitors experienced how seamless surrealism and VR melded together. But this dreamy, virtual reality immersion amid bird cries, melting telephones, a bare landscape, and other trippy forms under a moody sky could just be the tip of the iceberg for the vast landscape possibilities of surrealism and VR. Here are a few reasons why they're a perfect match.
Surrealism encourages the use of all the senses
There is something about surrealist art that takes it off the walls, and right into the realm of the imagination where great art should be in the first place. It invites viewers to engage the senses apart from the visual, and actually hear, smell, and touch images and scenes laid out in front of you.
Virtual reality does the same, and then some. With apps that encourage participation beyond the usual two-dimensional practices, you can fight your way out of tight spots, immerse yourself in the music of the maestros, and travel to places you could only dream of or imagine.
Surrealism questions the nature of reality
In the introduction written by Mark Burstein for the Dali-illustrated edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, he described surrealists as deliberately seeking "outrage and provocation in their art and lives and questioned the nature of reality." It's not far-fetched to use the same argument with the pioneers of virtual reality, who sought to go beyond what conventional photography and video offer, and added layers of "reality" to create something more tangible and magical.
Surrealism provides accessibility into the unconscious and imaginary
To bridge the imagination with art, surrealists had to tap into the unconscious and use their skills to translate what they see or hear or feel. This is true for surrealist visual art, literature, film, philosophy, music, and popular culture - and now, the same can be said for applications of virtual reality. The irrational, the imaginary, and fantasies that used to be the stuff of dreams that dissolve in the morning light, can now be accessed with a few clicks and tilts of the head.