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From now until December 19, Superblue is presenting an immersive exhibition by Dutch artist duo DRIFT at The Shed. Fragile Future explores the relationship between nature, technology, and humankind through delicate light installations and larger-than-life “concrete” blocks suspended mid-air. Music created by artist ANOHNI, mist, light, and projections guide visitors though the exhibition, creating an isolated environment cut off from the outside world. 

This marks Superblue’s first foray into New York City. Since opening its Miami location this May, the experiential art center has been platforming large-scale immersive experiences by artists like teamLab, James Turrell, Es Devlin, and JR. Founded by Marc Glimcher, President and CEO of Pace Gallery, and Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, Co-founder and CEO of Superblue, the company is set to launch a temporary London location in October 2021 with an opening exhibition featuring the artist duo, A.A. Murakami. 

Installation view of DRIFT’s Fragile Future, 2018, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Image: Ronald Smits

Superblue has further established a financial model with these artists that sees them receive continuous royalties from ticket sales. As Dent-Brocklehurst told The Art Newspaper, “Superblue is not particularly in the business of selling art objects, we’re in the business of selling tickets and commissions.” This model enables both parties to generate a profit, ensuring artists funding for future projects and the venue sustainability. According to Lonneke Gordijn of DRIFT, “We would rather share our work with many people who each pay a little for being a part of the work, than have one collector buy the work and lock it up in their backyards or basement.”

Helping to drive ticket sales are Superblue’s immersive offerings, which don’t lack for scale or scope. “We’re at a point where media and digital art allows us to open into a world that merges performance and exhibition through technology and immersion,” Kathleen Forde, Senior Curator at Superblue, tells Jing Culture & Commerce. 

Superblue x The Shed

Performance of “Drifters” in The McCourt at The Shed, as part of Fragile Future. Image: Dario Lasagni. Courtesy The Shed.

Fragile Future, according to Forde, was made possible with DRIFT’s proprietary technology. “They develop new technology for all of their work with their team; it’s not out of the box,” she says. “They have a massive team about 16 people, and many of them come from various facets of technology, engineering, software development, sensor design, and robotics.” The result, adds Dent-Brocklehurt, is “very poetic. It’s thought provoking and has a direct line to your emotion when you see it.”

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Superblue’s official opening may have been delayed last year due to pandemic constraints, but it arrives just in time to receive an audience eager for escapist, in-person experiences, contributing to a boom of immersive Van Gogh and Monet exhibitions. But the organization’s focus on original works, ambitious use of creative technologies, and collaborations with noteworthy creators might just set the Superblue experience apart. As Forde puts it, “[It’s about] using innovative technology at the service of experience, and not just for technology’s sake.”

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