The energy in INTER_, Manhattan’s newest art experience, feels more like a meditation retreat than a typical gallery—and that’s by design.
The experiential, multi-sensory museum opening in Soho next week invites visitors into a heightened state of contemplative awareness through a sound bath, light installations and aspects of meditation all combined with interactive digital art.
The adventure begins with a video describing INTER_ as “a journey that blurs the lines between you and the world around you.” The video challenges visitors to think about what actually makes up an experience. Is it a sight, a sound, a feeling, a thought? The audio questions how memory is experienced, encouraging visitors to step out of assumption and into the present moment before they enter the rest of the space.
Next, inside a massive dome dubbed INTER_sensory, abstract digital art fills the walls with images representing crystallization, connection and birth. A stirring ambient soundtrack pairs with 360-degree projections that respond to visitors’ movements. Audio cues offer a reminder to stay present: “You are here. Be here. You are right where you are supposed to be.” Similar to a meditative experience, the audio track also encourages visitors to stay curious, be aware and let the sights come and go.
With the awakened state achieved inside the dome, the INTER_planetary section encourages an exploration of the elements of ether, earth, water, air and fire. The space features a lush floral archway, interactive light projections and a water installation controlled by turning crystal balls.
Other activities include a set of mind-bending mirrors challenging perceptions of identity, a gong room where music plays while the floor vibrates and finally a bright white gallery space exploring the collective memory of the experience.
The little details throughout the space make the experience truly shine. For example, the digital artwork is generative, meaning you’ll never see the same visuals twice, Scott Yo, INTER_’s CEO explained. As for the audio experience, everything in the upstairs of the space is presented in the key of C, while everything downstairs is in D-sharp to make all of the sounds harmonious, INTER_’s creator and creative director Pete Sax said.
A longtime artist, musician and meditation teacher, Sax started making interactive art during the pandemic with Chemistry Creative, then got connected with Yo and JOBI Experiential, a venture studio that founded the INTER_ to explore the future of experimental art. As creative director, Sax said he wants people to “leave with a simple connected feeling and a joyful feeling.”
Stepping inside INTER_ from the busy intersection of Broadway and Canal feels like entering another world, one that’s quieter, gentler and indeed joyful.
INTER_ opens on Wednesday, November 2. Tickets—which cost $39 for adults and $24 for kids 12 and under—can be purchased here.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.