Therme Art Program

Experiential Art: Shaping Culture and Connection

When art transcends the boundaries of observation and instead becomes an integral part of the spaces we inhabit, a profound transformation occurs. It encourages individuals to immerse themselves in the artistic experience, blurring the lines between art and life.

Immersive art doesn’t merely occupy physical space—it generates an entirely new realm, inviting viewers to linger and engage on multiple levels. This encompassing approach enhances the connection between the audience and the artwork, fostering a more enduring impact. In this way, the space itself becomes an integral component of the artistic narrative, enriching our relationship with the art and shaping our cultural behaviour.

Therme Art’s curatorial approach embodies a commitment to reintroducing art into everyday living spaces, to create holistic experiences that reach broader audiences and acknowledge the reciprocal relationship between the artworks, their environments, and the viewer. It supports artists whose modes of creative expression are rooted in experimentation with multiple media, and whose artworks challenge the very foundation of how people perceive. Our mission is to drive innovation-focused discourse that allows for the transformation of groundbreaking ideas into art programmes and commissions that impact not just our society and environment, but our relationship to both. By cultivating experiences where art seamlessly blends with the fabric of daily existence and enriches our encounters and memories, it can, in turn, shape the way we perceive our world.

Therme Art’s two-pronged approach of generating discussion among and working with noted innovators and thought-leaders is best showcased by the Wellbeing Culture Forum and our support in Superblue. The experiential art company echoes our belief in the potential of experiential art to prompt a shift in cultural behaviour. Working with some of the world’s most innovative artists who are pushing the boundaries of how art can be experienced, our joint commitment to developing impactful and experience-driven art  has opened up a new avenue to explore novel approaches that prioritise immersive and participatory encounters.

Pioneering a new model for audiences to engage with artworks directly, the ongoing Every wall is a door exhibition has featured numerous long-term installations by leading experiential artists. Currently on display at Superblue Miami are works by teamLab, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, James Turrell and Es Devlin, each of which catalyse engagement with pressing issues of our time, offer ​​reimaginations of our cities socially, economically, and environmentally and provoke new means for understanding the way in which we occupy the world.

Es Devlin, Forest of Us, 2021.

Es Devlin’s large-scale installations that combine light, music and language are designed to elicit an emotional response and perspective shift in the minds of audiences. In her mirrored labyrinth, Forest of Us, she draws upon her interest in the organic shape of trees to create an immersive experience that takes visitors on a journey rooted in the human respiratory process. During the creative process, she immersed herself in James Gleick’s book on chaos theory as she tried to figure out the links between the lungs and trees and many other processes that occur within the human body. She illustrates the similarities of the networks and the connection not only between nature and the human body, but between every person who enters her work. The audience begins their expedition through the installation with a film that guides them through the artist’s vision of a bronchial tree. While exploring the work, they examine the inside of the lungs and create a connection between the internal workings of their bodies and the external. For Devlin, the lasting impacts of her artworks reside in the memories of the audience.

TeamLab, exhibition view of Every Wall is a Door, 2021 at Superblue Miami. Copyright teamLab, courtesy Pace Gallery

TeamLab’s suite of interconnected artworks at Superblue brings together several projects in an all-encompassing experience that aims to transcend boundaries of perception, demonstrate the continuity of time, and explore the relationship between the self and the world. In Massless Clouds Between Sculpture and Life, audiences enter a space filled from floor to ceiling with giant floating clouds. The boundaries between the floating artwork, the space, and the body are ambiguous, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the sculpture. Life Survives by the Power of Life II renders the Japanese character of life, 生 (sei), in a three-dimensional space to express the depth, speed, and power of the brushstroke using ‘Spatial Calligraphy.’ That calligraphy is then flattened and rendered in a two-dimensional space, and it continues to shift between two and three dimensions. Thus the artwork blurs the traditional boundaries between the viewer’s space and the artwork’s space, creating a sense of unity and continuity. It allows the viewer to perceive the artwork and their physical space as a seamless, integrated experience.

teamLab, Massless Clouds Between Sculpture and Life, 2020. Interactive Installation, Sound: teamLab.

These seamless interactions continue in their other projects—in Universe of Water Particles, Transcending Boundaries, visitors’ movements influence the flow of a digital waterfall as part of a responsive, interactive installation. The movements of the waterfall, in turn, affect the Flowers and People, Cannot be Controlled but Live Together installation, causing the flowers in the latter to scatter. This work is part of Transcending Boundaries, A Whole Year per Hour and Proliferating Immense Life, A Whole Year per Year, in which visitors experience a computer-generated continual cycle of a seasonal year of flowers growing, blossoming, withering, and decaying. As they move through the installation, they cause the flowers’ petals to scatter and wither. Throughout teamLab’s entire ecosystem of immersive works, visitors are engulfed in a visceral unison with the work, reflecting the indivisible state of the self and nature.

James Turrell, Bridget’s Bardo, 2009. © James Turrell. Photo: Florian Holzherr

James Turrell is emblematic for his investigation into perceptual phenomena and the limits of human perception through his Ganzfeld works, such as his recent project at Superblue, AKHU. The large-scale installation immerses visitors in a room of monochrome lighting, and through the powerful, felt experience of light itself, the dimensions of space gradually begin to completely dissolve. With no object on which to focus their vision, visitors experience a change in depth perception and possibly a feeling of disorientation. The artwork takes shape through the perception of the observer, which becomes so focused that the visitor, in Turrell’s words, “can see his own seeing.” The visitor’s attention turns from outside to inside, turning the act of observing into a meditative process.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Pulse Typology, 2021.

In Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Pulse Topology, an immersive biometric artwork of 3,000 suspended light bulbs, each of which glimmers  to the heartbeat of different participants, creates a choreography of light and sound that evolves as people enter and leave the space. It involves the visitors, once more, in an intimate and deeply personal experience that aims to foster human connection.

The immersive realms that a visitor encounters at Superblue all contribute to transforming how we perceive art and the world around us. By blurring the boundaries between the observer and the artwork, the viewer becomes a participant of the experience, engaging with it on multiple sensory levels. Through these dynamic installations that seamlessly blend the realms of nature and human experience, they foster a deep sense of interconnectedness and unity.

Art has long served as a catalyst for transforming cultural norms and fostering progress. Through the immersive and participatory nature of experiential art, we believe there to be an opportunity to shape a cultural landscape that places greater value on human connection and emotional resonance—paving the way for a more empathetic and healthier future.

Related pages:

Experiential Musical Performance by Alicia Keys at Superblue Miami
Therme Mind And Superblue Present Shy Synchrony At Design Miami/ 2021
WBCF | Art and Architecture as Healing
WBCF | Experiencing to Reconnect: The Transformative Potential of Art featuring Es Devlin
WBCF | Liquid Experiences – Immersive Experiences in Art, Nature and Cities featuring teamLab’s Communications Director, Takashi Kudo
WBCF | Invisible Symphonies: Healing Through Participatory Art and Human-Centred Technologies featuring Rafael Lozano-Hemmer