Sensory rooms and immersive Art: Sensing as a tool to maximize experience

9:30, Friday 7 May 2021 (30 minutes)
Jennifer Grossman, Independent scholar, USA

Sensory rooms have been proven to create relaxation and decrease anxiety in clinical therapeutic settings. Immersive art experiences also allow people to engage with art on multiple levels through the senses. This paper explores how therapeutic and art worlds can be merged; how immersive art could be used as a tool for clinical settings and the healing effects of sensory media in art experiences. In a clinical setting, affect is pertinent to understanding states in people, yet in an artistic setting, the affect feedback loop might get cut off at the will of the artist, the art institution, or mere lack of follow up with visitors - yet it is often a strong consideration in the creation of the work.

Through an analysis of select art installations that use multisensory modalities: particularly sound and video works by Sarah Sze, Yayaoi Kusama, James Turrell, La Monte Young, Olafur Eliasson, and Pipiloti Rist. Doug Wheeler, and Janet Cardiff/George Bures Miller, I review the sensory tools and affects used that can be gathered from their works and potentially applied to other settings, including but not limited to:

• Immersion/Embodiment

• Engaging multiple senses

• Engaging/transforming architecture

• Initiate a space for play/imagination

• Create a safe space

• Creating a meditative environment/recreating the natural world

• Objects “reaching out” or Sensing objects

• Mood-based environment (vs Functional one)

• Synaesthesia

• Re-creating elements of the natural environment

Independent Artist