Factory Obscura SHIFTs OKC’s Perspective

Factory Obscura SHIFTs OKC’s Perspective

A man cleans the glass outside of Current Studios in Oklahoma City while people wait inside to enter the SHIFT exhibit on Friday, Jan. 19. (Regan Rosson/The Vista)

Factory Obscura’s project “Shift” is an immersive art experience in Oklahoma City brought together to support artists and education.

The design process for Shift began in May of 2017 with the physical build starting on August 14th, 2017 and opened on November 9, 2017 with the help of seventeen Oklahoma artists. The exhibit occupies 1,200 square feet.

“Why can’t Oklahoma be the next big thing?” said Kelsey Karper, one of the founders of Factory Obscura.

Karper said that the plans for Shift were intended to create an something with different styles of art including musicians, theater, dancers, graphic designers and others coming together for an immersive experience.

Another founder of Factory Obscura, Tammy Greenman, said with the success of both Meow Wolf in Santa Fe and City Museum in St. Louis, they felt it was time to bring the talented artists of Oklahoma City together to create a similar artistic experience.

“After gathering the artists together, we quickly realized that we were all feeling that now was the time and Oklahoma City was the place to launch Factory Obscura and start to bring this new experience economy to our city and state,” said Greenman.

The exhibit has two entrances which lead to one central area with hanging pods, fake grass to lay down on, and trees with scenes of small bugs participating in human activities. People are able to duck under two of the three pods and experience scenes that simulate being under the sea or in a honeycomb. Even the bathroom was part of the exhibit, made to feel as if it were underwater.

“It was fun to cooperate with other artists,” said Amber Rae Black, an artist for Shift.

Both sides of the exhibit are connected with a tunnel illuminated by UV lights for attendees to crawl through. Black, who created this particular idea, said that it was the help from the other artists that brought it to life. 

Greenman said she was impressed with how well each artist worked together and talked out their ideas.

“We worked to make sure that everyone felt a part of Shift,” she said. 

Shift ends on Feb. 25, but Karper says that is doesn’t stop there. Factory Obscura has plans in the future of a permanent installation in 2020, along with many other projects before then.

Anyone can volunteer for future projects.

 “Just volunteer and show up,” Karper said. “The biggest thing about putting Shift together was the artists who stuck it through and showed up.”  

All artists are welcome to join the next projects and create a place in Oklahoma where an art community can grow.

Current Studio is finalizing details for their next experience that will open later this year.

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