Quantum Mirror combines VR Nerdery and Existential Questions at St. Louis Park

Admit it. You can’t get enough The matrix at present.

Or does the Matrix just can’t get enough of you?

Everyone knows (and the media often jokes) that millennials have struggled with an existential fear of “What’s my place in the universe?” for what feels like our entire lives after living through the most technologically progressive three decades in Earth’s history. So it’s no shock that our popular culture is wrapped up in works like Matrix movies, netflix black mirrorand from Amazon To download.

What East Shockingly, more people aren’t talking about an art installation in St. Louis Park called quantum mirror which evokes exactly this question of existence. Similar (but not really) to popular Immersive Van Gogh exhibition, quantum mirror is an immersive art experience that uses projectors and moving digital art to create a different take on the traditional rooms of paintings and sculptures that most art lovers are used to. Unlike the long marble halls of the Minneapolis Institute of Art, quantum mirror it almost looks like he’s watching you.

The trippy Infinity Room from Quantum of Mirror. REM5 Virtual Reality Lab

Tucked away in a warehouse in St. Louis Park is a hidden gem called REM5 VR Lab, and it’s where the quantum mirror The installation by a young new media artist named Adrian Stein is currently hosted on loan from Chicago. Tickets are $25 for the exhibit, which buys you 25 minutes of immersion and introspection.

Note for COVID-19 Safety: As of January 21, 2022, the City of St. Louis Park requires face coverings to be worn indoors. However, the city and location does not have vaccination or testing requirements. Six ticket holders have access to the exhibit during each timeslot, so to be sure of everyone’s vaccination or testing status, you’ll need to coordinate with five friends or family members to have a timeslot for you. Helmets are wiped down with hygienic wipes between groups and UV treated overnight.

REM5 is a club. No, it’s an arcade. No, it’s a pub. Well yes. It’s all of those things. It mostly looks like a bowling alley for Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets. Each module has a monitor screen, so your party members can watch what’s playing. A full-service kitchen and canned craft beer comfort you while you wait your turn to play. And if you can’t wait, several TVs with Nintendo GameCubes are available to play for free. It’s a pretty cool venue on its own, but the team’s passion for bringing new, immersive experiences to the masses is what really sets them apart from other entertainment venues. You can go anywhere to play an arcade or watch a movie. But why not try something you’ve never done before? That said, you don’t need to purchase a VR lane to view the art exhibit, and vice versa.

Two mannequins with head screens flank a display on the reading wall "an average user spends 2 hours + 24 minutes/day" in white text on textured black

Constantly updated feeds replace the heads of these mannequins.

The first thing that happens when you walk towards the quantum mirror immersive art installation is you are asked to take off your shoes. It’s not Twister, but it’s a sock game, so be sure to wear matching socks that day. The next thing that happens is you enter a lobby with sculptures that integrate technology and art, a working 3D printer, and a module where users can leave a message for yourself digitally, if your handheld don’t already fill that void for you. .

Exit sign on white double doors on a white wall with four life size metallic human arms spread over the doors

Wrong way, I guess.

Many of us are familiar with VR headsets, especially if you’ve been to the local pre-COVID 2D Con video game convention. the quantum mirror the experience starts with such headsets, and who better to complete an artistic experience with virtual reality than the guys from REM5? Users sit, staring forward, as a narrator walks you through a proverbial “consciousness download” – asking you questions like “What digital identity have you created of yourself?” and “Is this representative of who you are or who you want to be?” – and asks you to move your hands. When your hands move, your surroundings move too, showing how you can cause a ripple effect in both the real world and the digital world. The interesting thing about these headsets, however, is that instead of handset controllers, there are sensors on the front of the headset that detect the movement of your hands in front of your face, which isn’t common in many models of VR headsets. It’s a detail that makes this part of the experience interesting both for frequent VR users and for those who dive into it for the first time. Fans will recognize the VR experience using the Quest 2 headsets which have been custom modified for this unique experience. Hand tracking has also been custom developed by the team.

Several VR headsets resting on stacks of white blocks, a glowing blue tree behind them

VR headsets used for “consciousness downloading”.

When the guests have completed this “consciousness download”, the helmets come off and the doors open to reveal the Infinity Room. With floor-to-ceiling mirrors, everywhere you look you’ll find part of yourself and part of the digital art coming from three monitors at the heart of the room. The mirrors are angled in a unique way but not so disorienting that it made me dizzy, and the image isn’t grossly distorted like in a fun house. Without spoiling the images and sound, I recommend you sit or lie down in the Infinity Room and let the ideas presented in “upload” resonate with you – after, of course, taking a few selfies, because is not really the point of art these days?

A person wearing a black and white striped sweater and matching mask taking a photo reflected in fragmented mirrors

Two and a half selfies for the price of one!

At just under 30 minutes, it’s a short-lived engagement. And after completing your journey through electronic space and time, you can enjoy a personalized beer! REM5 has partnered with Modist Brewing to create a unique Pineapple Coconut Marshmallow Lager with a QR code on the can that puts Adrian Stein’s art right on your mobile device.

Die-hard fans of virtual reality and/or immersive experiences should bring a beginner with them. It will be a great introduction and it will allow you to experience this type of adventure through their eyes. While my millennial colleagues might just sigh and nod at the deep introspective questions the art installation poses about where the line is blurred between humans and technology, it’s still a piece to behold. Between nerdery VR, craft beer and quirky up-and-coming art, this experience has a little something for everyone and will be a surefire hit for everyone’s 2022 list, no matter what their taste. existential crisis.

Although it was originally scheduled to close at the end of January, due to popular demand, the experience has been extended through March 2022. Visitors must be 13 years of age or older and will be required to sign a waiver (an adult must sign to anyone aged 13). –17). It is recommended to call ahead for ADA issues. Use coupon code TCGEEK for $5 off at checkout when you buy tickets online.

A visitor to the exhibition surrounded by mirrors

REM5 Virtual Reality Lab