Our friend Diego Del Pino at Ruinart invited my wife and I to a reception at their lounge in the Frieze Art Fair in New York. Frieze had a much calmer air than other art fairs this year. I could credit it to the expansive open space and the diffused light of the white tents. Or maybe it was the fact that we knew we'd end our art walk with our favorite champagne. Probably both.
"I loved how simply I could conjure this sensation."
On to virtual reality. Ruinart created a VR experience that takes you on a visual tour of the champagne house's history from its inception to today. I have tried VR goggles in the past so I was somewhat familiar with what to expect. I have also seen many presentations of companies' stories, which are usually not so exciting to say the least. This was a fun exception.
I found myself reaching out to pop bubbles and greet nymphs (I got some bubbles missed the nymphs), getting out of the way of horse carriages and zipping between deserts and cathedrals. The most interesting part to me was the end when I was in what looked like a hot air balloon. While I knew I was standing in a room, I still "held on" to the railing and didn't step out. Isn't it funny how easily we can trick ourselves? Later, I talked about this with Cece from Ruinart who was led the creation of the VR experience. She said that in earlier iterations, there was no "railing" and people were nervous standing on a small platform an infinite distance from the ground.
It reminded me of when I was a kid and my mom would take me away from my Saturday morning cartoons to go shopping. There was one department store that I always enjoyed going to because they had a glass railing. I would go up to the second floor and put my feet close to the glass, staring at my reflection until it felt like I was hovering in the air. For maximum immersion, this works best when you are under four feet tall and your head is below the top of the rail. I loved how simply I could conjure this sensation. Deprived of cartoon time, I had figured out a way to feel superhuman.
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