Coinciding with tickets going on sale for Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser, one of the V&A’s major exhibitions slated for 2021, the museum will host an immersive virtual reality event featuring a curator presentation, live visual effects and a unique exhibition preview.

The result of an innovative new partnership with HTC VIVE Arts and games studio PRELOADED, the V&A has announced several digital activities that will be open to audiences anywhere in the world.

“Together, we’re bringing the fantasy and imagination of Alice in Wonderland to audiences around the world, ahead of the exhibition next year,” states Victoria Chang, director of VIVE Arts at HTC.

“The unprecedented circumstances in 2020 have demonstrated how technology can inspire and connect us. We are proud to support the V&A and help further its mission to broaden access to the museum, using bold new models to transform how art and culture is experienced.”

To maximise reach, the preview session can be accessed by people with or without VR headsets via virtual reality platform ENGAGE or by watching a ‘recorded live’ broadcast on the V&A’s YouTube channel.

Down the Rabbit-Hole

Following the preview event, Curious Alice, a VR experience based on Icelandic artist Kristjana S. Williams’ specially commissioned illustrations for the exhibition’s publication, will form another part of the show’s promotional programme.

This will feature enriched animation, additional scenes and extended narrative elements. Participation will not be free for this offer, with audiences having to pay £3.99 to download in either English or Chinese.

Next year’s exhibition will also host a VR experience of its own, with A Curious Game of Croquet offering visitors the chance to participate in an immersive game of croquet reminiscent of Alice’s time in Wonderland.

“Since their creation the Alice books, with their mind-blowing ideas and concepts, have been a source of inspiration for new technologies from silent film to CGI,” says Kate Bailey, the V&A’s senior curator of theatre and performance.

“It has been an extraordinary adventure to work with HTC VIVE Arts and PRELOADED to take our exhibition into a playful new dimension of VR. Alice’s impossible journey through a fantastical universe becomes possible in this exciting new creative platform.”

The inaugural V&A virtual reality experience will take place at 2pm (GMT) on 22nd October, with Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser scheduled to open to the public on 27th March 2021.

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