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Explore the evolution of life in this virtual reality experience at the Chennai Library

Instead of borrowing a book, this library lets you dive into an interactive virtual reality installation to explore the birth of Earth with the help of snakes.

Instead of borrowing a book, this library lets you dive into an interactive virtual reality installation to explore the birth of Earth with the help of snakes.

I find myself in a desolate cave and my feet touching the sand. As the sun pierced through the overhead canopy, I was caught off guard by the writhing snake Vasuki.

Invite to follow. I only find myself in another cave, flooded with a soft red glow, featuring Togalu Gombeyaata dolls from Karnataka floating in the air. The doll begins to move as the beat fills the air.

They say I’m in the Shadow Library. But physically, I’m at the Goethe Institute Library in Chennai, wearing a VR headset. This is just one of the worlds that make up The Infinite Library. The installation is currently touring the Goethe Institute’s libraries nationwide, introducing readers to South Indian puppetry, Polynesian navigation, and European medieval alchemy.

The physical library is drenched in an unfamiliar green glow. There are also hints everywhere: QR codes, wall projections, and glass bottles with 3D-printed sculptures illuminated from within. It will be a journey to try to answer questions about human evolution while succeeding in abstraction.

The final 15-minute VR experience titled The Main Cavern is an amalgamation of all these components, presenting the user with three choices of libraries to open: Library of Shadows, Elements, or Navigation. I choose the third and find myself on a boat bobbing in gentle waves as my dog ​​is with me and dolphins join me on a soothing ride that lasts until dusk.

The Goethe Institute Library in Chennai illuminated | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

This world was created by Mika Johnson, a filmmaker from Czechia who brought in Kafka’s work. transformation As a VR experience to the Goethe-Institut in 2019.

The Infinite Library, which has been underway for two years, began moving in March. “It’s a sci-fi concept. What we’re trying to do is imagine the future of libraries, the future of the technologies we interact with,” he says Mika. He believes that access to every individual’s story will be opened up, upon which different realities will be simulated. How did we get here, and it started 4.5 billion years ago,” he adds.

Mika says the installation is partly inspired by science fiction novels written by Jorge Juiz Borges. “Originally, I was piecing together the various libraries that existed at the time and allowing people to navigate through them.At the same time, I was reading about evolution. There are symbols and objects that are the first to come into contact with, and they come from caves.” That was his starting point.

For Mika, the library is a sacred space, and she enjoys reimagining it as a space where she can not only absorb culture, but also create. As such, his favorite space is his Oodi in Helsinki, Finland. Here, 3D printers, VR spaces, and video game his room are seamless parts of the physical library.

Your next stop is Pune, a library that cleverly uses the past as a gateway to the future.

The Infinite Library will be at the Goethe Institut Library in Nungambakkam from 10am to 5pm until September 24th.