250 Miles High: L’Infini
If you missed the first voyage of Space Explorers: The Infinite (L’Infini) that launched in 2021, you can certainly jump on the second. The VR experience that brings visitors onto the International Space station by Felix & Paul Studios is back. The nearly hour-long journey is divided into chapters and with the VR, viewers feel as if they are aboard the space station where they can press coloured orbs to learn more about what life is like 250 miles off the surface of the earth. However, there’s some brand new content: a space walk.
The experience of L’Infini begins as soon as one waits to enter the space, where the voice of an astronaut recounts what lift-off was like and how she waved good bye to her family and friends and switched from clothing she chose to clothing chosen for her. A set of double doors swing open to reveal a large room containing a conveyor belt with headsets. Very space age! After obtaining and fitting the headset, the VR itself guides visitors on a walk into, well, outer space, where they see the outside space station. The visitor continues through permeable walls and once inside the “station”, the visitor can navigate around the virtual space — in reality, just a room. However, in the headsets, the visitor sees the halls of the space station, clutter like wrenches floating in 0G that can be batted around, and coloured orbs that when touched with virtual hands give short 60 second movies about life on the space station. The astronauts prepare meals, perform science experiments, work out, and joke around warmly. It’s a glimpse into an experience so few humans have ever had. There are so many orbs that it would be impossible to watch all of them in a single visit, so the exhibition is divided into “chapters” that focus on different aspects of life aboard. At the end (spoiler alert!), everyone is guided to a seat, where they watch astronauts on a space walk filmed using a specially made camera that could handle outer space.
Unlike real astronauts, visitors to L’Infini can walk through walls and even outside of the station in the environment. Since everyone is essentially just walking around a large space with headsets on, the exhibition uses a clever device to help visitors from bumping into one another. Other visitors appear far away as coloured blue (or yellow) lights, and star filled bodies when up close. The occasional bump is inevitable, but by and large the device works.
The videos are extraordinary, and Felix & Paul studios and NASA provide a special opportunity to glimpse not just into what it is like aboard to space station, but a chance to immerse in an experience. It flew by (pun intended) so fast that I could easily see myself going back to try it out again and have a different set of videos shown to me.
After exiting through the gift shop, visitors should take time to peruse the non-VR part of the exhibition, assuming one didn’t look earlier. L’Infni has placards with images of the astronauts who were onboard at the time the filming was done and information into the background. Also available are a series of films that detail the creation of the camera used to shoot the videos and how it reached the space station on the Artemis rocket.
L’Infini is an extraordinary experience. It’s local talent (Felix & Paul Studios) and NASA showcasing human achievements on earth and beyond.
L’Infini is taking place from May 3 to Sept 4 in the Old Port (2 rue de lx a Commune Ouest. Tickets available online, $46 per ticket. Some reduction for students and children. Info HERE.