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Genius Loci Asia’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ Brings Visitor as the Actors into the Wonder World

In the recent years, optical illusion has its own spotlight as something enjoyable, especially through the work of 3D art artists. These artworks, which are now easily found in what people call as 3D Trick Art Museum could bring visitors to various experience. Be it standing on the edge of a cliff with burning lava below or in the middle of a jungle surrounded by the beasts, these are done by paintings that, if perceived from a certain angle, could generate a realistic imagery that one is being there. Unfortunately, the 3D arts will lose its desired effect once people do not perceive and photograph it from a precise angle. The paintings will appear strange and distorted, fail to give the wanted effects.

Alex Bayusaputro, the principal of Genius Loci Asia explains the installation

Trying to seize the moment, Genius Loci Asia experimented on imbuing optical illusions into interior design through their installation ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Fitting well to the installation theme, Alice in Wonderland indeed often takes audiences into surreal settings throughout the movie. Alex Bayusaputro, the mastermind of this installation, successfully created an installation which surpassed the illusions in 3D arts. What was seen inside the installation was the result of design and engineering.

With the intention of giving the visitors a realistic experience as if they were in the movie, Alex Bayusaputro challenged himself to transform every green screen technology in the movie into the reality in his installation. Every crooked, distorted, and twisted elements inside the movie were constructed in this installation to trick the eyes. For example, the architect included two red columns that were crooked and shrunk at the topmost part to give the illusion of a supposedly extra high ceiling. Added with a massive and slanted fireplace, the sense of scale within the ‘Red Queen Palace’ became ambiguous. The element of the swirling checkered in the Palace’s floor also added another illusion as if the floor were spinning. Mostly covered with marble, it was indeed convincing to call this room a palace in the realm of Alice in Wonderland.

The Red Queen Palace depiction of the movie Alice in Wonderland

As a continuation of the scale ambiguity, which was frequently depicted in the movie, the visitors, or in this installation were the actors, will be directed to the ‘Gate into the Wonder World’. Within this room, Alex applied the ‘Ames Room’ effect to give visitors the unique experience of becoming giant and midget. Perceived as a normal box-shaped room, the room actually has a trapezoid base, causing different viewing distance that results in varied size of objects seen from one point of view. When the person is further from the observer, he/she becomes a midget compared to the one with closer distance. With a camera and a viewing screen, the actors entering the Gate into the Wonder World could see themselves shrink or grow in real-time, emphasizing their role as the actors in this installation.

Becoming giants and midgets in Gate into the Wonder World

‘Alice in Wonderland’ is a unique experimental piece of interior design, showing an escalated concept of illusion with engineering feats. This installation is unusual for letting the visitors experience the illusion not in two-dimensional media, but better yet, in real-life and real-time. By going extra miles and thinking outside the box, Alex Bayusaputro proved that it is possible to transform something surreal into reality.

Article by Jessica Christanti

Here is the walkthrough video inside the installation:

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