Experiencing the future in the darkened theatre on Grand Street was quite comfortable. With virtual reality (VR) glasses at the ready, monolithic speakers, mood lighting, and an audio soundtrack that accompanied the visuals, one felt instantly transported into a 360-degree world, all while sitting in a cushy chair. With glasses on, guests could see action taking place to the side, up above, and down below, yet one feels more than just a spectator as the sense of place is forgotten. The 90-minute adventure includes three short films and three dramatic audio stories, and with the ambisonic sound, it’s hard to tell whether the action is actually taking place in the room, or just within our imagination. Is this the future of movie-going? Museum-going? Or life itself?
This is the Museum of Future Experiences, (MOFE), and Liminality, an experience for all the senses. The first film provides a glimpse into the collapse of one world as the inhabitants try to escape to the new world, in the second, we see a relationship in turmoil, and in the third, a new beginning symbolized by a blooming garden. Three audio stories provide a narrative that can be either linked together…or not. It’s up to each viewer. But it is all very hypnotic, moving and truly unique.
Guests are limited to 14, for now, and after gatherig in the waiting room, the group is given brief instructions about what awaits behind the curtain. We hear about the show’s intent, and what we can expect, but after experiencing Liminality, it’s difficult to really prepare for this out of body, out of mind event.
The show will run a few months with plans for new productions. The staff continually searches for new virtual reality content; however, the audio stories are produced in-house. The goal of MOFE is to “show you something you’ve never seen or heard before.” The plain façade of the building is intentional, meant to be nondescript, and mysterious.
Once you leave the theatre, it pays to get a bit to eat nearby to refuel after such a journey and discuss its meaning, and Fabiane’s on North 5th offers just that; their Sunday brunch was a delight with a fast-paced, attentive staff. Then, to Martha’s Country Bakery on Bedford for some sweets, and a stroll up Grand to the Domino Park to think more about the future or just watch the jet skiers race by. On this day at the park, an impromptu “will you marry me” table was set up as one partner was surprising the other with a proposal.
Can’t get more futuristic than that. And it all takes place in Williamsburg!
Top photo courtesy of MoFE; allotter photos, MJ Hanley-Goff.