You can ‘step inside’ an artwork at this immersive Dubai gallery

CNN  — 

In a luxurious modern souk in Dubai, famous artworks are being transformed into psychedelic 3D dreamscapes projected 360 degrees onto the walls of a progressive contemporary art space.

The Theatre of Digital Art (ToDA) is a cultural space in Souk Madinat Jumeirah for tech enthusiasts and art lovers alike. With works from both historic masters and contemporary digital artists, ToDA allows visitors to experience art in a multisensory, immersive space, and even see NFTs in physical form presented in digital frames.

Its first exhibition, in 2020, included iconic works from nine of history’s most celebrated artists, including Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, and Paul Cézanne, digitized and paired with multimedia elements, such as music in surround sound.

theatre of digital art video card
Immersive NFTs are on display at this Dubai art space
01:55 - Source: CNN

At ToDA, works are displayed in three formats – multimedia exhibitions, contemporary immersive installations, and art in virtual reality. The exhibitions use state of the art audio-visual equipment to turn artworks into a multisensory experience with music and animations.

Daria Prodaevich, managing director of ToDA, says that educating audiences about technology-forward approaches to art is an important pilar of what ToDA does, especially when it comes to NFTs.

“What makes our exhibitions unique is that we have an amazing immersive space,” says Prodaevich. “We create immersive experiences out of contemporary digital art, and we’re the only ones in the region who do that.”

ToDA's first exhibition put celebrated historic artworks in a high-tech way, putting animations and music to huge 360-degree projections of paintings by Claude Monet and Paul Cézanne.

A multisensory experience

The ToDa group hosts exhibitions all over the world, with dedicated spaces in Dubai, Thailand, Germany, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, and Russia. She says that one of ToDA’s main aims is to give representation to new digital talents in the art world, like Dubai-based Serena Abou Daher.

For artists like Daher, there is no separation between art and technology. Daher’s work “Ether,” an NFT, was displayed in 3D splendor in ToDA’s “Metaverse Room.”

“It’s an audiovisual work,” she says. “I’ve created the visuals and I’ve also created the sound for it.”

“Digital art is growing,” Daher tells CNN. She predicts that artists will use more technology and even AI in the future to make art. “But it’s not like the physical will be replaced by digital,” she says.

ToDA isn’t the only place in Dubai presenting digital art in a creative way. The Infinity des Lumières art space also brings classic artworks into the modern era – each exhibition sees a different famous painting take over the space, with its brushstrokes and ink marks lighting up the walls and floor. But as yet, no other galleries in the region are working with NFTs as ToDA is.

Prodaevich says that ToDA plans to continue pushing the boundaries of art and tech.

“Last year ToDa presented the first NFT exhibition in the region,” she says. “Since then we have had three contemporary, digital art exhibitions, and we’re not planning to stop there.”