Sophie Bolich

Deep Lake Future Exhibition Opens July 21

Immersive art experience at Small Works gallery in Walker's Point takes you under the surface and into the future of the Great Lakes.

By - Jul 18th, 2023 05:11 pm
Deep Lake Future exhibit at Small Works Gallery, 700 S. 5th St. Photo taken July 18, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

Deep Lake Future exhibit at Small Works Gallery, 700 S. 5th St. Photo taken July 18, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

Step into Small Works Gallery in Walker’s Point and you’ll find its walls patchworked with dozens of miniature art pieces, offering a visual feast of varied mediums, styles and themes within the airy corner gallery, 700 S. 5th St.

The gallery’s newest installment, however, turns the tables. Rich with color, texture and sound, the immersive Deep Lake Future exhibit makes viewers the small ones — plunging them deep into the waters of the Great Lakes to explore interactive elements, hidden passageways, a 3D soundscape and projection mapping.

The interactive exhibit, created by Milwaukee-based multimedia studio FuzzPop Workshop, is the result of nine months of planning and the combined efforts of 25 local artists and designers including muralist Emma Daisy Gertel and lighting designer Jason Fassl.

The concept started as a way to raise awareness about invasive species in the Great Lakes and explore the possibilities of a future where technology and biology have merged, said Daniel Murray, founder and creative director of FuzzPop Workshop. “But really, that was a starting point for us to try to create something fantastic and wonderful,” he added. “More than anything, we hope people have a creative and imaginative experience.”

The exhibit begins in a cramped room. Dimly lit and teeming with exposed wires, the initial experience is rather unsettling. When visitors’ eyes begin to adjust to the gloom, they’ll notice that the space is filled with hazmat suits, monitor screens and maps, while printouts of invasive species are tacked to the walls. A hypnotic voice repeats the message: “Welcome to ICOR laboratories. Together we are generating a happier, more sustainable tomorrow.”

The voice also invites visitors to “turn to the east, feel the lake and join the aquatic mind.”

After thoroughly investigating the first room, visitors travel through a tentacle-lined tunnel to reach the rest of the exhibition. The large, main room contains a luminescent, underwater world featuring a billowing, water-like fabric ceiling, a coral-like cave lit with rainbow lights and an interactive, 3D-printed sturgeon.

Invasive species including zebra mussels, bloody red shrimp and the fearsome lamprey also make cameos throughout the exhibition.

The all-ages exhibition will be timed and ticketed, with small groups permitted to enter every 15 minutes.

Deep Lake Future will open to the public on Friday, July 21 and will run until at least the end of the calendar year — but likely longer, according to Murray.

Tickets, available for purchase online, are $15 for adults and $12 for children ages 3 to 13, as well as adults age 65 and older.

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