Houston becomes a Virtual Cape Canaveral as The Infinite Blasts Off
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk on the International Space Station? You will have your opportunity as THE INFINITE blasts off on December 21st and runs through February 20, 2022 at Sawyer Yards on Houston’s west side.
THE INFINITE is the world’s largest in-person immersive virtual reality experience and the first to transport visitors onto the International Space Station vis-à-vis the Primetime Emmy Award-winning series Space Explorers: The ISS Experience – the largest production ever filmed in space. THE INFINITE, in turn, incorporates the exclusive content from the series into a life-size 3D replica of the ISS. Utilizing new footage of the only cinematic spacewalk ever captured on film – shot this past September – visitors to THE INFINITE Houston can experience what it’s like to venture outside the ISS for the very first time.
Following a multisensory reproduction of a lift-off, visitors put on state-of-the-art VR glasses and wander through a giant 12,500-square-foot model of the ISS at the same time as other visitors, which makes it a shared experience. Even though about 75 people are exploring the space station at the same time, everyone appears as a cosmic avatar, which prevents people from accidentally bumping into one another. The best part is that you and the friends show up as shining avatars, and the strangers in the room are blue avatars, so you always know where “your people” are unless you lose them in a far-away section of the ISS. Being aware of others in the room transforms the experience into a communal environment that blurs the lines between the physical and the digital.
Throughout the hour-long journey, visitors can touch a series of orbs that activate the different astronaut stories, but the stories people watch are dependent on the direction they go, resulting in hilarious confusion later when people try and recount different scenes with their friends and no one has any idea what anyone is talking about.
The overall effect is a shift in perception that gives visitors a profound feeling of interconnection with humanity that becomes overtly emotional, especially when looking down at the Earth from the ISS (they call this the “overview effect” – think of it as a combination of discovery, awe, and warm, fuzzy, cozy comfort all bubbled up into one). About 90% of the people who see it actually cry during their journey.
Even though THE INFINITE is referred to as an exhibit, it’s really more of a narrative that begins right at the onboarding with a sound and light installation simulating blastoff into space. Once the VR headsets go on, visitors can roam around as they want and watch the astronauts going about their daily lives while taking in stunning sights of planet Earth.
From astronauts fixing stuff and growing plants to working out or having dinner with fellow crew members, the scenes vary widely. No matter what scene you’re watching, though, you feel like you can reach out and touch the astronauts as they float around, literally hanging in their work, living, and sleeping quarters. At the American premiere in Houston, THE INFINITE will also include scenes from previously unseen footage from the only cinematic spacewalk ever to be captured on film (shot two months ago on September 12th), which means Houston audiences will be the very first to experience life inside the ISS…AND OUT… and will be able to take an actual spacewalk in addition to exploring the ISS itself.
RUN, don’t walk, to experience it as soon as you can, as the whole thing is pretty much life-changing and definitely the coolest thing to be happening in Houston.
For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit their website at THE INFINITE HOUSTON.