Lucid dreaming. The ability to be able to control your actions and narrative of your dreams and create your own stories is an ability to be jealous of. Haven’t we all at one point or the other wanted to step into our dreams, good or bad?

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wndr museum ©Gabriele Litkauskaite

Humans are greedy by nature. What we see, we want, and what we dream, we create. 

The wndr museum

Hidden in a commercial business area in Chicago, disguised as an ordinary building, lies a technologically created dream you will want to step into. The deceitfully simple-looking façade of the building provides a stark contrast to its contents.

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Wndr Museum: Igniting the Curiosity- Sheet2
wndr museum ©Katrina Wittkamp

Designers: FC Studios
Area: 14,500 sqft
Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Building typology: Commercial, G+2
Opening: 21st September 2018

What began as a temporary pop-up museum, the wndr museum (purposefully short on vowels and consonants) has now moved to ‘The top list of places to visit in Chicago’. Providing a reprieve from the obsession of the ‘perfect aesthetic’ that everyone seems to be chasing these days, the museum has become a hot-spot for teens.

There have been mixed reviews given by some of the visitors regarding their experience in each of the rooms. But art is always a controversial topic that is subject to various reactions.

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wndr museum 
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wndr museum 
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A building with an open floor plan was chosen as the location. This allows for much more creative use of the space to allow for free movement and visual clarity.  

The wndr museum constantly refreshes itself to keep the curiosity of the visitors ignited throughout the year. You move from what can hardly be called an exhibit but an experience akin to walking in a dream.

The layout

The interactive art displayed by the artists featured in the museum provides an opportunity to create their own stories. The artworks exhibit a delicate intersection between science and art. Our minds often separate science—as facts and art—as creativity. We usually do not perceive that the two might be connected. 

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The visitors are encouraged to walk through all the exhibits to get the appropriate experience. The exhibits are meant to challenge your five senses-touch, sight, sound, taste, and smell, to go beyond normality.

The Microscope hall

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Microscope hall 
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Microscope hall 
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The journey begins with Microscope Hall. This room is to astound you with the simple concept of size. You begin to comprehend the fact that your existence is a mere speck of dust compared to the universe. 

Next, you move ahead to a room which twists the perception of light by your eyes. Rub your eyes because you are not hallucinating. This piece of work represents the concept of refraction and prisms, bending and reflecting white light into the spectrum of colors we know as a rainbow.

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wndr museum 
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wndr museum 
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The Ames Room Illusion

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wndr museum 
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You then proceed onwards to the optical illusion based Ames room. This illusion is about misinterpreted size perception. The science behind this concept is much simpler than you think. It all depends on the perspective of the viewer. Also, this room makes for great pictures. 

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wndr museum 
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Proceeding is a vast structure and tunnel of millions of connecting straws, representing the cellular makeup up DNA that is within individuals. This will make you wonder whether the world is now devoid of plastic straws.

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wndr museum 
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The wndr museum continues to challenge our predisposed notions and perceptions in regards to science and reality, such as the aspect of clouds being like 1.1 million pounds, falling, condensing, and evaporating, rather than floating.

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wndr museum 
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Another display attempts, in very easy terms, to explain to us the very basics of our being. It depicts the similarities between the anatomy of a shape and the structure of our universe. This is achieved using materials as simple as metal rods that are then joined together.

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Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room at wndr taken by Michael Abraham
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Towards the end of the museum is the main highlight of the show. The very first of its kind, the Infinity Room, installed by the 90-year old artist, Yayoi Kusama has left the visitors wanting to spend more time in that particular room rather than just a minute.

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Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room at wndr taken by Michael Abraham
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The room is filled with reflective steel balls and a small mirrored column that itself encloses an even smaller Infinity Room. Imagine being surrounded by millions of versions of yourself. The experience created is just as mind-blowing as one can imagine. This mirrored room has been attempted in several other locations but being unsuccessful in capturing the same effect.

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As you saw above, each exhibit intends to make us stop and think. It makes us question our existence and the very principles we choose to live by. All of this has been achieved using the simplest of materials, like straws or for example, combined with a simple understanding of lighting and the human mind. This makes for an interesting experience. Least to say, being the first of its kind in Chicago, nobody expected to exit a temporary pop up museum in awe of it.

It will be a ‘wndr’ if your brain does not create an extraordinary dream to challenge the one you just walked through. Pun intended. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

https://www.wndrmuseum.com/about

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http://fourteeneastmag.com/index.php/2019/05/10/what-does-chicago-wndr-about/

https://www.fcstudioinc.com/commercial-projects/2019/3/14/wndr-museum

https://shen.home.blog/2019/03/15/the-wondering-wonder-of-wndr/

Eduwik- Online Courses for Architects & Designers

https://news.artnet.com/art-world/wndr-museum-chicago-1369063

https://www.fcstudioinc.com/commercial-projects/2019/3/14/wndr-museum

Author

A pure romantic, but with a passion for the thriller and mystery genres, she tends to surprise people. She feasts on stories, may it be from a baby or a random dog. If she had her way, she would be camping in the mountains with a cup of ginger tea.

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