Art, technology and mental health come together in this new immersive exhibition

While visiting a new immersive experience a Thomas Jefferson UniversityI found myself mesmerized many times by the light and movement of the artwork I was looking at.

While some of the pieces a Waiting room – Immersive art for well-being, they were simply framed on the wall, others occupied small rooms, using light and shadow to attract the viewer. The exhibition, which focuses on art that uses light, shadows and movement to create engaging artistic experiences, was opened at HOT BED gallery on September 17.

The experience was taken care of by Godley Lake, artist and professor of industrial design at Jefferson. Godley is working on research at The Jefferson Center of Immersive Arts for Health to see if immersive art, like the pieces in the Waiting Room exhibit, can be calming or have a positive impact on mental health.

Godley and the other artists featured in the show have come up with pieces that are engaging to the viewer, but small enough to be used in real waiting rooms to help calm patients.

“Some rely on distraction therapy, where if you give someone a headset, somehow it distracts them enough so that their stress level is reduced, they don’t need as many pain medications, you can get it through uncomfortable procedures simply because they are distracted, “he said.” And so the hypothesis is that we can create that kind of immersive environment without headphones. “

The exhibition features six artists, Aidan Fowler, Alyson Denny, Jessica Judith Beckwith, Philip Hart, Yael Erel and Godley. It also features four songs from the winners of the 2022 Design Competition for Immersive Arts Students for Health, where the Jefferson Center of Immersive Arts for Health has invited designers from around the world to submit pieces. Out of around 35 works from 11 different countries, the first four winning works were actually built and exhibited in the exhibition.

Most of the pieces use lights and / or projectors to create certain effects. For example, one of Godley’s pieces is lit by a projector that plays a video on each physical tile, creating movement on the piece. Godley used digital projection mapping so the projection only hit the intended tiles, he said.

This piece was created by Lyn Godley. (Courtesy photo)

A piece of Erel has been 3D printed and has a light coming through it. There is a piece of stainless steel with a textured surface on a turntable and the light reflects off that rotating piece and projects the patterns onto the wall.

A round white sphere casts light onto a wall

A piece by Yael Erel. (Courtesy photo)

Fowler created a piece that uses a convex mirror to reflect flexible LED arrays. The final product made me feel like I was traveling in space.

A circle of light reflections

A piece by Aidan Fowler. (Courtesy photo)

Godley said he thinks incorporating technology into art helps make it interactive and allows people to interact with it.

“It’s really hard if you have something dynamic, don’t go there. It’s really hard if you have something that lights up, not to be attracted to it, right? “She said.” And yes, we can do these huge immersive Van Gogh things, right? But I think there is something about having something that is more intimate. , right and that can actually be used in spaces where it could have an impact. “

Godley said that 10 years ago he did an art exhibit where he used fiber optic lights woven into images of birds and people were drawn to it. She said they would sit on the floor and watch the pieces for long periods of time. And after doing some research, she found that the lights she used had the same wavelength as the lights used in light therapy. She contacted Thomas Jefferson about their light research program and she got to work.

“This dynamic work field is really new and I know we get lost in this stuff, is everyone doing well?” she said. “And it’s like we could use it the same way they use distraction therapy with a headset without using a headset.”

In an effort to continue this research and gather data, Godley said that next to each of the main pieces is a QR code linked to a survey to gather input from visitors about their experience. She said they also want to start putting some of this art into real waiting rooms to see what impact it has. Rooms are places where people are stuck, she said, which features and interesting location.

“It’s specific to spaces where people are confined and so we’re not looking at patient rooms yet because we need another level of illumination when it comes to circadian lighting,” he said. “But I think for this show, if we can start the dialogue so we can get people involved and we can start collecting data. This is the most important thing for us. “

The exhibition is open until November 19th at the Hot Bed Gallery.


Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2023 Corps member for Report for America, an initiative by The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism. -30-

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