The exhibition is set up in an old building on the Langenieuwestraat, in the center of Utrecht. The entrance is lined with some quotes from Constant. Location manager Ruben Coers welcomes all visitors and guides them into the room. The hall is small and has a peculiar central open space with a boat, a bicycle and a hanging chair. Coers explains: ‘The installation is divided into four experiences, in which different reflections on Constant’s work ‘New Babylon’ are discussed and depicted. Everyone has time to experience at least three parts of the VR experience.”
In the first part of the installation called ‘The past of a future city’, the visitor is taken into an experience in which they visit a fair in New Babylon, accompanied by a robot guide. The little yellow robot says: “New Babylon should have been a Utopia, unfortunately the reality turned out to be different, soon it turned out that man is not made for freedom.” This is followed by the experience “Echos of oblivion”. A boat trip in which the visitor can row through pink waters, accompanied by a spoken-word artist, who talks about how much more colorful and playful the world could have looked, ending with the statement ‘Do you ever think about that? How it all could have been different?’
Between the experiences there is a short period in which you can relax and there is an opportunity to talk to the volunteers. Volunteer Sofia Kaloterakis explains: ‘I had come to Utrecht for my master’s degree when I was approached by an acquaintance if I wanted to participate in the project. I am both a VR and spoken-word artist myself, so the project really appealed to me.” Sofia is one of several volunteers who do their best to make all four experiences as immersive and seamless as possible.