Hong Kong mall Airside is hosting the world’s first digital art aquarium, Blutopia, which gives visitors the chance to explore marine ecology in a unique way. The exhibition, which was conceptualised by A.L.A.N (Artists Who Love Animals and Nature) creates a multisensory art experience by combining immersive environmental art with interactive exhibits.
Blutopia is divided into two parts. The first is a large-scale multimedia exhibition at the GATE33 Gallery that takes visitors through different ocean zones, each distinguished by the extent of sunlight penetration. Starting with the ‘Sunlight Zone’, the exhibit then transitions into the ‘Twilight Zone’ before culminating in an immersive ‘Deep Ocean’ exploration.
This section of the exhibition also has artworks such as ‘Symphilia’ — a large-scale coral reef installation that fuses Mixed Reality (MR) with the art of crochet by Indonesian artist Mulyana, and ‘Colourful Jellies’ — a giant interactive light installation that simulates the light emitted by jellyfish when sensing the proximity of other species.
The immersive interactive installation, ‘Aquatics’ by German artist Philipp Artus, allows visitors to create entirely new species of deep-sea creatures. Other displays include a large-scale sound installation called ‘Song From The Deep’ by local composer Daniel Lo and sound designer Lawrence Lau, and the Cyberpunk-infused work ‘Bluetopia’ by digital visual artist Desmond Lo.
Then, there’s the ‘hidden’ part of the exhibition at L216, where visitors can immerse themselves in a pulsating light-and shadow-display created by digital art and get a sense of what it is like in the depths of the ocean.
Admission to Blutopia is free, but visitors must first register for the event. The ‘Symphilia’ MR experience is only suitable for visitors aged 12 years old and above, but younger children can participate in the Augmented Reality version. Registrations are open on a first-come-first-served basis.
Airside opened in September 2023, and is built on the site of the historic Kai Tak Airport. It is housed in a 47-storey multi-complex and spread over 700,000 square feet. The highlights of the mall are its indoor surfing venue, a 900-seat movie theatre, and a flight experience zone.