Modigliani VR: The Ochre Atelier


Integrating low threshold VR into a blockbuster exhibition at the Tate Modern.

The brief

Tate had a bold ambition: to use VR to provide visitors to the upcoming Modigliani exhibition, with a unique interpretative layer to their experience, with the aim of creating empathy and connection with one of the 21st Century’s greatest artists.

VR experiences have been created by museums and galleries but this instance would be different: Tate wanted their VR experience integrated into, and curated as part of the wider exhibition, not sitting as a standalone add on elsewhere in the building. Visitors – who would likely be completely new to VR – must be able to get something from the VR experience that they genuinely couldn’t get elsewhere, i.e. a completely new layer to their exhibition visit.

Collaborating fully with the team from Tate, comprising representatives from Tate Conservation, Curatorial, Visitor Experience and Installation, we had two design challenges to explore:

How could we design a low threshold experience that:
1. Would appeal to the art-newcomer and art-connoisseur alike?
2. Was accessible and non-alienating for traditional audiences in-gallery, but that could also be used at home for those who own and are familiar with the hardware?

The Solution

Our understanding of this audience, and of extraordinary research we uncovered with Tate, led us to a simple but strong solution: A meticulous VR reimagining of Modigliani’s last Parisian studio, where he lived, and worked in the final months of his life. A hitherto undocumented space, brought back to life through 60+ objects, artworks and materials.

Learning from the work Modigliani made in the studio, and from eyewitness accounts, using historical research to inform every detail of the space.

Immersive audio featuring narrated first hand accounts offers an unparalleled connection to Modigliani almost 100 years since his death. The words of those who knew him best, his friends, peers and sitters, further animate the space.

At Preloaded we are passionate about testing, iteration and more testing to ensure any experience we design delights the audience, regardless of differing levels of comprehension, and tech familiarity. We set out to incorporate those diverse audiences early on, and regularly throughout the whole project lifecycle.

Partnering with Tate subject matter experts and armed with extensive research, we established the core principles for the experience, which we validated with Tate’s target audiences.

Modigliani VR: The Ochre Atelier launches today at the Tate Modern. A longer, exploratory version for at home users will follow in December, available on VIVEPORT.