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"Fashion Beneath the Skin" - Unique Collaborative Social Virtual Reality Installation

Publication date: 2024-06-18

Thanks to the volumetric video setup by CWI’s DIS group, two remote visitors can simultaneously explore the virtual exhibition.

From 26-28 June 2024 you will have the unique opportunity to explore 5Dculture’s collaborative social Virtual Reality (VR) installation Fashion Beneath the Skin, showcasing the potential of reusing digitized material and 3D garments in combination with new technologies. It is an innovative approach enhancing access to collections and thus enriching individual museum experiences.

The set up will be on display at the Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision in Hilversum (NL), immersing visitors (limited timeslots, register now!) into an innovative VR experience. Together you view a virtual exhibition with digitized versions of garments from the archives of the Centraal Museum Utrecht, Kunstmuseum Den Haag and Zaans Museum, supplemented with archive material from the Sound & Vision collection.

A highlight of this installation is its demonstration of advanced VR technology. Thanks to the volumetric video setup, developed by the DIS group of research institute Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI), two remote visitors can simultaneously explore the virtual exhibition. This setup uses several RGB-D cameras to create highly realistic 3D representations of participants in real-time, allowing them to view digitized garments in detail together.

Discover the Future of Fashion at Sound & Vision

The installation at Sound & Vision is currently a prototype envisioning the final product capable of showing how two visitors can experience the same VR exhibition simultaneously. In this set up the pods for the VR glasses used to visit the virtual exhibition are still located physically next to each other. But in the future, museums in different countries will be able to work together on one virtual exhibition. Visitors from different locations will be able to meet and experience the virtual exhibition together.

Marco Rendina, managing director of the European Fashion Heritage Association (EFHA), says: Fashion heritage holds a vital link to our cultural identity, encapsulating the stories, craftsmanship, and traditions. Digitisation and VR technology not only help us preserve precious artefacts, but also revolutionises the way we can experience them. By immersing ourselves in this social VR exhibition, we can explore and interact with fashion’s past in ways previously unimaginable, learning more about our common past, and ensuring that these legacies endure and inspire future generations.

Experience Fashion History up Close in Interactive VR Space

Together, visitors can enter the VR space now, see the details of the digitized garments up close and interact with them. The garments in the VR space are also either too old, too fragile or too toxic to be exhibited outside the archive for a long period of time. The selection of garments has specifically been chosen for this exhibition because they each show part of the development of body ideals and fashion through history in their own way.

The fashion heritage and archival material visualize the shifts in the relationship between the body and clothing from the 18th century to today. Mixing 3D digitized objects and videos, the show is subdivided in three virtual spaces that display examples of attire from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, inviting the audience to explore the time-traveling narrative interactively.

How to Visit

Preparation is required to enter the VR installation and visitors time slots at Hilversum are limited. Please register via this link.

The installation was developed in close collaboration with the Centraal Museum Utrecht, Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI), European Fashion Heritage Association (EFHA), the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Modemuze and designer Dylan Eno.

A PDF file of this article with additional visual material is available in our Community of Practice section here.

Original article