February 3, 2023

The Infinite Houston

The Infinite Houston

The infinite Houston is a new immersive virtual reality experience that allows visitors to travel through space to the International Space Station (ISS). Set to open this month, the immersive exhibit will blast off at Sawyer Yards in Houston and then move on to Seattle. The Infinite Houston

Using astronaut-capture footage from the Primetime Emmy Award-winning film series Space Explorers: The ISS Experience, a joint venture between Montreal's Felix & Paul Studios and Time Studios, THE INFINITE takes viewers into the void as if they were there themselves. It is the largest and most immersive virtual reality experience in the world, designed to give visitors a chance to get a glimpse of what it's like to be an astronaut aboard the ISS.

To help create an authentic experience, NASA astronauts filmed short scenes of the ISS outside and inside utilizing a custom camera that produces ultra-high-definition, 3D, 360-degree views. The footage was used to build the installation, which consists of seven chapters that take guests through an immersive journey from Earth to space.

First, guests start the experience by being ushered to the launchpad where they hear a speech by NASA Astronaut Anne McClain. Once they have a feel for the experience, they are then escorted through an airlock and onto a dock where docents are waiting to help them adorn specially modified Meta Quest 2 headsets fresh out of UV disinfection.

Once they have suited up, visitors then venture into a series of seven rooms. These include a life-sized 3D model of the ISS; a multi-sensory artistic reinterpretation of a lift-off; an exclusive audiovisual installation from famed Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda; and an "infinity room" that mimics a journey through a wormhole.

Each of the art installations has its own unique aesthetics that complement and support the theme of the exhibition as a whole. In addition to the three installations created by Japanese artists, the exhibition also includes a room crafted by a Montreal artist who aims to portray a black hole.

The most striking of the three is a dazzling piece of video art from the visual artist Ryoji Ikeda, who has dubbed it “The Universe Within the Universe.” The 10-minute installation evokes an intense feeling of enlightenment, prompting visitors to question hidden facets and structures in nature as they travel through it.

After a brief rest, guests move on to the next section of the experience. This is the most visually striking part of THE INFINITE, as it offers a stunning visual display of a single mirror, and the ceiling is made entirely out of LED screens that illuminate the image of a black hole.

After completing the virtual reality portion of THE INFINITE, it's time to leave the ISS and enter a spacewalk sequence that guides visitors on an orbital journey back home to Earth. This is an exciting experience for anyone, but especially for people who have never been to space or have been awestruck by the beauty of the planet.

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