Genius daVinci – An Underwhelming Experience
By Sarah Magill . February 18, 2022
Incohesive, slightly confusing… Genius daVinci is one more “Immersive Experience” which sorely lacks both facets of the phrase.
Just over the road from Berghain, in a hangar which looks like… well, Berghain (but with friendlier doormen), is apparently the current home of one of humanity’s greatest ever artists/draftsmen/architects/inventors/painters.
In an “Immersive Experience” imaginatively called Genius daVinci, visitors are promised a creative journey through the eyes of the Godfather of the Slash Career, Leonardo da Vinci, in a show that claims to be “breaking boundaries and reaching new dimensions”.
Expectations – along with entry prices – are high as visitors part with 24,95€ (standard admission) for the one hour show with the promise of being able to touch the interactive walls inside the experience room.
Once the show begins, the walls and floor project colourful patterns which are reactive to touch. But instead of triggering some hypnotic spirograph or giving you the ability to stroke Da Vinci’s beard or something cool like that, the interaction mainly consists of moving some colours around a bit… like using the spray paint feature on Microsoft Paint, circa Windows 95.
Then follows a series of seemingly random inspirational quotes matched, of course, with imagery of the sea and the sky (presumably because Da Vinci lived somewhere in between?).
We do at some point see projections of Da Vinci’s artworks, but question marks are quickly raised when these masterpieces begin to melt into images of modern people with speech bubbles coming out of them, all of which state some generic phrase about peace and love (because Da Vinci was an activist/human? Who knows.).
Excitement peaks when the intro to Blue Monday starts up and the walls turn into the set of the movie Tron. This is followed by some visuals of planets and some random facts about star signs.
Soon, I’m playing with interactive basketballs and a virtual pinball machine. Though, not really playing… just kind of moving things around a bit. If there was ever truly a tie between this exhibition and Leonardo Da Vinci, it’s now gone for good.
By the end of the hour, I’m left underwhelmed and more than slightly confused. It seems like the creators’ image of Da Vinci is of someone with a painfully short attention span, who likes random stuff popping up and who values Instagrammability above logical or narrative cohesiveness.
If you’re looking for an immersive art and cultural experience in Berlin, I’d recommend you swerve past Genius daVinci and instead spend five euros more for a three-day pass to 30 of the city’s art galleries and museums. It’s probably what Leo would’ve preferred.