Arts

Wonderspaces: Pop-Up Art in Mission Valley

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Wonderspaces is a refreshing taste of the arts in Mission Valley. This pop-up museum of extraordinary experiences is bringing interactive art to an over sized tent in the middle of an unlikely neighborhood. The sixteen art experiences range from room-sized interactive art installations to virtual reality films and include art enjoyed at the world’s biggest festivals and fairs.

When you enter Wonderspaces, the first visual you get is of Pulse Patrol, Davis McCarty’s 16 foot arch made from futuristic dichroic acrylic which, like a dragonfly’s wings, simultaneously transmits multiple colors. This arch also welcomed visitors to Burning Man in 2016. 

Once inside the pop-up arts museum, you almost forget that you’re on Russel Parkway and Civita Blvd. right across the street from a shopping center. This pop-up art exhibit is disorienting and surprising (but in a good way).

Photo by Holly Raines

So what were our favorite experiences at Wonderspaces?

Karina Smigla-Bobinsky’s ADA- Analog interactive installation was one of our most memorable experiences at Wonderspaces. The piece is an interactive art-making machine: The viewer walks into a room (which feels more like a white box) with a large helium-filled, membrane-like globe that is spiked with charcoals and floats freely. Viewers become artists as they take control of the globe and move it towards the walls. As the globe’s spiked charcoals bounce off the walls, each person makes their mark and participates in the artwork. Walking into ADA feels a bit like a monochromatic nightmare, but one that is welcome.

ADA has been previously exhibited in festivals and museums around the world including FILE Festival in Rio De Janiero, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT) in Liverpool, the GARAGE Museum in Moscow, the ZERO1 Biennial in Silicon Valley, and Mois Multi in Quebec.

The Last Word was another one of our favorite experiences. The instructions for the interactive art are as follows: “Please feel free to remove a white-side out piece of paper and share your last word, returning it to the honeycomb chamber with the red-side exposed. You may also read last words of other participants” The act of writing out last words feels therapeutic; there’s nothing like releasing a big secret with the perfect comfort of anonymity. Reading the last words of other participants was a little less therapeutic and slightly more devastating. The words told stories of love lost, abuse, and death. Plucking out the papers from the honeycomb slots was an unexpected exercise in the struggles that make us all human.

Photo by Holly Raines

The Last Word was created by Illegal Art, a collective of artists founded in 2001 whose goal is to create participatory-based public art to inspire self-reflection, thought and human connection. The piece has been installed at four different locations throughout the fall of 2009 in New York City. Those locations were Spring Gallery in Brooklyn, New York; Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York; GMHC in Manhattan and at the Museum at Eldridge Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan through the end of 2009.

Wonderspaces will be in town until July 30, and you can get tickets here.

Getting there:

From the West: take I-8 to the Mission Center Rd exit and head North on Mission Center Rd. Turn Right on Civita Blvd and continue until you see the large white tent to the right. Parking is past the white tent on the right.

From the North: take 1-163 South to Friar’s Rd and head East. Take the Mission Center Rd exit and turn left to head North on Mission Center Rd. Turn Right on Civita Blvd and continue until you see the large white tent to the right. Parking is past the white tent on the right.

From the South: take I-163 North to Friar’s Rd and head East. Take the Mission Center Rd exit and turn left to head North on Mission Center Rd. Turn Right on Civita Blvd and continue until you see the large white tent to the right. Parking is past the white tent on the right.

Lauren lives in OB with her French bulldog, Elvis Presley. She loves laughter and the great outdoors. You can contact her at lauren@sdentertainer.com.

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