Connected \\ April 26, 2017

PEMcast 010: Immersive experiences

We’ve been noticing here at PEM and in the greater art world that the “i” word keeps popping up. Today we bring you the first in a series of PEMcast episodes that center on the theme of immersive environments. Listen to our conversations with an MIT neuroscientist, two museum curators and an arts reporter for the L.A. Times who dubbed immersive the arts buzzword of 2016.



Aromatic spices greet visitors in PEM’s ‘Asia in Amsterdam’ exhibition. Photo courtesy of Instagram user @kristweiss

The media tells us that millennials crave immersive experiences, doing things that involve all of their senses.

In the business of storytelling, museums and artists have long played on people’s sense of empathy and wonder. But now, more than ever, museums are incorporating all the senses in exhibition design and in the design of the whole museum.

The New York Times special museum section recently featured PEM in a story called Drinking in the Art: Museums Offer a Growing Banquet for the Senses.

What makes an experience immersive? Why are people drawn to these type of experiences? The PEMcast producers wanted to know and that search took them to a variety of places, including the Henry Darger room in Chicago.

Click through to see a 360 photo of the Henry Darger Room, taken by PEM’s Melissa Woods when she visited there last fall.

Thanks to Deborah Vankin of the LA Times for talking to us, as well as Matthew Peterson from MIT’s brain and cognitive sciences department and to Debra Kerr, Executive Director of Intuit, The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art in Chicago.


And thanks to our very own Curator of Chinese and East Asian Art, Daisy Wang.


Photo by Kathy Tarantola

Stay tuned for our next episode when when we explore London’s East End and Nordic style Larping — all in an attempt to explain how immersive environments create empathy.

You can hear the PEMcast on iTunes, Soundcloud and pretty much anywhere you listen to podcasts. Producers for this episode are Whitney Van Dyke, Caryn Boehm, Melissa Woods, Dinah Cardin, and Chip Van Dyke. Corbett Sparks is our audio engineer.

We commissioned the music for this episode. You can hear more ambient electronica, chillwave and experimental dub from Forrest James at

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