Inside the Infinity Room, SXSW's trippy art installation

South by Southwest is all about merging tech with art, and Refik Anadol's Infinity Room is a dazzling example.

South by Southwest isn’t just a tech show—it’s more of an ideas show, a place where technology comes together with art, music, and film in creative ways to bring these outside-the-box concepts to the people. 

Well, I guess in the case of the Infinity Room, the point is to bring people inside the box. The Infinity Room is an installation by mixed-media artist Refik Anadol that uses trippy audio and visuals to create an illusion of infinite time and space. The room is a completely closed-off box with projectors on each of the four walls, and mirrors on both the floor and ceiling that make the space feel much bigger than it actually is. Looking down was a little freaky—it looked like I was suspended in midair. 

The Infinity Room is part of Anadol’s ongoing “temporary immersive environment experiments,” which is supposed to help viewers reach an “elevated level of consciousness” where your “awareness of physical self is transformed.” I don’t know if I was “transformed,” but to me, the space was super meditative. I felt an overwhelming sense of calm in the room and could have easily stayed in there for a while—it was almost like one of those sensory-deprivation pods. (I visited the Infinity Room on my last day in Austin, so perhaps I just really, really needed a nap.) 

There are different iterations of the Infinity Room popping up in museums and galleries all around the world, and it’s definitely worth checking out if you get the chance. Or, watch the video above to get a better idea of what the room is all about.

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