loading video...

alice: curiouser and curiouser preview in wonderland at V&A museum, london

tumble down the rabbit hole and explore wonderland with the ‘alice: curiouser and curiouser’ exhibition at the V&A museum, london from may 22 – december 31, 2021. in a special preview, designboom wanders through an immersive, fantastical journey as the display celebrates one of the most imaginative stories, written by lewis carroll in 1863. the exhibition delves into the origins, adaptions and reinventions of the book, evolving from a manuscript and intricate illustrations into a global phenomenon spanning film, performance, fashion, art, music and photography. amongst over 300 objects set designs and more, a mesmeric experience welcomes the museum’s first virtual reality partnered with HTC VIVE arts – to see wonderland through alice’s eyes.

alice: curiouser and curiouser preview in wonderland at V&A museum, london
alice in wonderland began during ‘the golden afternoon’ told charles dodgson, known as the pseudonym lewis carroll

alice: curiouser and curiouser preview in wonderland at V&A museum, london
alice at the mad hatter’s tea party, illustration for alice’s adventures in wonderland by john tenniel, 1865

alice: curiouser and curiouser preview in wonderland at V&A museum, london
creating alice explores the origins of the book, from the handwritten manuscript to illustrations by john tenniel
all images courtesy of the V&A museum, london

 

 

‘alice: curiouser and curiouser’ begins with a magical descent into the V&A’s subterranean sainsbury gallery – a tumble down the rabbit hole if you will. visitors join ‘the golden afternoon’ in the first section, creating alice, which traces the origins of the story. in a typical museum display, objects and photographs allude to the book’s victorian setting, from politics to inventions like the kaleidoscope and more. the fascination of charles dodgson – the author’s real name before using the latinized pseudonym lewis carroll – with logic, puzzles and games soon become clear, although it is an apparent irony as wonderland seems to be a chaotic place of paradox. the original handwritten manuscript and illustrations by john tenniel are proudly put on show.

alice: curiouser and curiouser preview in wonderland at V&A museum, london
from novel to lantern slides, the wonderland caught the fascination of storytellers through evolving mediums

alice: curiouser and curiouser preview in wonderland at V&A museum, london
concept art by mary blair for walt disney’s 1951 adaptation of alice in wonderland © disney

alice: curiouser and curiouser preview in wonderland at V&A museum, london
filming alice and staging alice sections sequence the book’s adaption to stage and film, most notably with disney in 1951

 

 

as visitors explore the exhibition, the story evolves from manuscript, firstly, to merchandise, games and lantern slides before moving to the big screen with film adaptations, including walt disney’s iconic 1951 film. filming alice charts the creative development on screen, designs, animations, scripts and costumes. staging alice looks at the dance, music and performance whereas being alice explores the modern-day fascination of wonderland in art, science and popular culture. these range from imaginative stage costumers by the royal opera house, fashion from iris van herpen, and photography from tim walker.

alice: curiouser and curiouser preview in wonderland at V&A museum, london

alice: curiouser and curiouser preview in wonderland at V&A museum, london
bob crowley’s towering costume for the queen of hearts from the royal ballet’s 2011 production
image © designboom

alice-curiouser-and-curiouser-exhibition-preview-va-museum-london-designboom17

 

 

reimagining alice introduces the most immersive aspect to ‘alice: curiouser and curiouser’ at the V&A. it explores reinventions of wonderland by leading creatives, from the surrealists salvador dalí and yayoi kusama to the beatles, vivienne westwood and little simz. visitors walk in on a life-sized mad hatter’s tea party brought to life through psychedelic and playful digital projections. there is then a special virtual reality experience created by HTC VIVE arts – the first of its kind for the museum – set in an environment of scattered playing cards and twisting roses.

alice: curiouser and curiouser preview in wonderland at V&A museum, london

alice: curiouser and curiouser preview in wonderland at V&A museum, london
the mad hatter’s tea party is enlivened with famous quotations and mesmerizing, colofrul pattern sequences
image © designboom

alice-curiouser-and-curiouser-exhibition-preview-va-museum-london-designboom18

 

 

called ‘a curious game of croquet’, visitors wear VIVE cosmos headset and dive into wonderland. as if looking through alice’s eyes, VR enables guests to navigate the surreal, colorful story and its landscape, from shrinking in the hallway of doors to falling down the rabbit hole. virtual alice ends up visiting the queen of hearts’ garden – based upon a reimagination of the museum’s own courtyard – for a game of hedgehog croquet. icelandic artist kristjana s. williams‘ artworks transforms the flat illustrative style of victorian engravings into a vibrant 3D world. these are inspired by john tenniel’s original alice drawings as well as the V&A’s collection of 19th century paper peepshows. the experience creates the perfect set up to explore a modern-day wonderland.

alice: curiouser and curiouser preview in wonderland at V&A museum, london
designboom stepped into wonderland using the museum’s first experience of virtual reality

alice: curiouser and curiouser preview in wonderland at V&A museum, london
HTC VIVE arts’ VR experience, ‘a curious game of croquet’, in action
image © designboom

 

 

created by immersive games studio PRELOADED, an extended home version brings wonderlands to VR users across the globe. the edition involves solving the caterpillar’s riddles and racing against the clock to find the white rabbit’s gloves. it is available to download on VIVEPORT and other VR platforms.

alice: curiouser and curiouser preview in wonderland at V&A museum, london

alice: curiouser and curiouser preview in wonderland at V&A museum, london
visitors join the queens of hearts for a game of hedgehog croquet in a garden reimagined as if the V&A’s very own courtyard

 

 

we are delighted to partner with the V&A on this breath-taking exhibition, exploring alice in wonderland as an ongoing source of inspiration, experimentation and innovation. VIVEe arts mission is to enable artists and institutions to imagine beyond what is traditionally possible, using digital technologies to transform how art and culture can be experienced. virtual reality is a powerful tool for storytelling, and we hope that ‘a curious game of croquet’ will enable visitors to personally experience the wild imagination and fantasy of wonderland, from the vivid sensations of falling down the rabbit hole in zero gravity to being physically shrunk or enlarged,concludes victoria chang, HTC VIVE arts director.

alice: curiouser and curiouser preview in wonderland at V&A museum, london

alice-curiouser-and-curiouser-exhibition-preview-va-museum-london-designboom11

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy

EXHIBITION DESIGN (97)

HTC VIVE ARTS (7)

V&A (13)

VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY (122)

PRODUCT LIBRARY

a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

designboom will always be there for you

milan, new york, beijing, tokyo,  since 1999
X
5