Don't Miss the AGO's Small Wonders: The VR Experience

By Margaret DeRosia ● December 08, 2016 05:00

Updated December 9, 2016 - Small Wonders: The VR Experience has been extended on weekends until the exhibition's end (January 22, 2017)!

If you’re in Toronto before January 22, 2017, don’t miss this sublime virtual reality (VR) experience at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

A man wearing a HTC Vive headset and watching a virtual reality (VR) scan of a gothic boxwood miniature prayer bead.

The Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab (CFC Media Lab), Seneca’s School of Creative Arts and Animation and the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) are screening their groundbreaking VR collaboration, Small Wonders: The VR Experience, as part of the AGO’s new exhibition, Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures.

A close-up of the gothic boxwood miniature prayer bead, which depicts heaven and hell.

Entrance to the show and VR experience is free with general admission. Sign up to don an HTC Vive headset and headphones. With the support of a technician, see a 3D rendering of a single prayer bead that depicts heaven and hell – and in detail otherwise inaccessible to the human eye.

Crouch down, walk around or head straight through the bead to see it from all angles. Listen to the Boston Camerata perform graceful choral music composed specifically for the show. The overall effect is a more tactile, immersive and interactive experience of art than that achieved through traditional exhibition display.

A man crouching down while watching a virtual reality (VR) scan of a gothic boxwood miniature prayer bead.

The exhibition was organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. It brings together for the first time more than 60 rare boxwood carvings from museums and private collections across Europe and North America. Small Wonders offers new insight into the methods of production and cultural significance of these awe-inspiring works of art. Small enough to fit in the palm of the hand, these tiny masterpieces depict complex scenes with elegance and precision. They inspire viewers to ask how a person could have possibly made them, a question that can only be answered today – and a challenge perfect for VR.

The exhibition continues until January 22, 2017, with sign-up for the VR experience available during regular Gallery hours on weekends only. Learn more and plan your visit here:

All photos courtesy of Alex Bruce Photography.