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Things to Do in Miami: “Renewal 2121” at Artechouse

Walking in, you’re suddenly awash in a sea of bright pinks, oranges, and blues as ambient sounds fill your ears. There’s a feeling of sophistication mixed with playfulness, but you can’t fully distinguish between the two.

Then you’re moving your body in twisted, jarring motions playing a futuristic game that captures all your senses.

Still, there’s a foreboding message attached to the game. You find out chocolate is a thing of the past, and many animals have gone extinct.

Are you in an episode of Black Mirror or Artechouse’s latest exhibition, “Renewal 2121”?

Artechouse, which opened in 2017 in Washington, D.C., with outposts in Miami Beach and New York City, pushes the boundaries of art while creating an immersive experience. Its goal is to blend art, science, and technology, leaving visitors to think about the world around them.

Past exhibitions at Artechouse featured experiences focused on a single color palette and grabbed inspiration from foreign cultures. One thing’s for sure: No two experiences are the same.

click to enlarge At "Renewal 2121," guests can bang on Japanese taikos. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ARTECHOUSE/MAX RYKOV

At “Renewal 2121,” guests can bang on Japanese taikos.

Photo courtesy of Artechouse/Max Rykov

“Renewal 2121,” which premiered at the D.C. space in 2021, has opened at the Miami Beach location and takes inspiration from Japanese culture, fusing aspects of kawaii aesthetics and street fare with bright colors. As visitors walk in, guides explain that they are about to enter Japan 100 years from now.

Perhaps Artechouse’s most colorful experience thus far, “Renewal 2121” is fun, playful, and energizing. It focuses on three themes of renewal: the city, nature, and oneself. Produced by the in-house creative team with scenes designed by Japanese digital artist Yuya Takeda, it aims to have visitors to walk through the exhibit and meditate on the resilience of nature, how humans find ways to combat destruction, and how members of society can make a change.

Nature is at the core of each interactive piece. It’s a simple message: Nature has struggled, yet it persists.

“Every year, we get inspired by the incredible power and beauty of nature to bring the cherry-blossom season and its message of renewal and reflection to life at our innovative art space in D.C.,” explains Sandro Kereselidze, Artechhouse’s founder and chief creative officer. “This year, we wanted to bring the exhibition to Miami for the first time because we felt it was imperative to spotlight the collective environmental responsibility needed to ensure that our natural surroundings thrive. We hope to convey a message of hope with this exhibition and inspire visitors to take action and be part of the positive change.”

click to enlarge The creative team at Artechouse collaborated with Japanese digital artist Yuya Takeda for "Renewal 2121." - PHOTO COURTESY OF ARTECHOUSE/MAX RYKOV

The creative team at Artechouse collaborated with Japanese digital artist Yuya Takeda for “Renewal 2121.”

Photo courtesy of Artechouse/Max Rykov

In what continues to be a reality for many these days, Artechouse’s creative team collaborated remotely on “Renewal 2121,” working with Takeda, who’s based in Tokyo; Düsseldorf-based duo Mario Hammer and the Lonely Robot, who created the incredible music; and Design Foundry in Maryland, which pitched in with the scenery. Visitors can bang on taikos, cook food in a Japanese street cart, sit in a massive room that puts the viewer in the middle of futuristic Japan, and play touchless games. In all, it takes about 45 minutes to traverse the entire show, depending on how much time you spend playing the various minigames.

In the past few years, immersive art exhibitions have become the norm, offering audiences who might be turned off by more esoteric works something much more accessible despite not being entirely innovative. While “Renewal 2121” is certainly not a unique immersive experience, those looking to feast on the exhibit’s cyberpunk aesthetic probably won’t be disappointed.

“Renewal 2121.” On view through May 1 at Artechouse, 736 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; artechouse.com. Tickets cost $17 to $24.

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