Psychedelics: The Experiential Exhibition opens September 30, 2022 in Toronto
Psychedelics: The Experiential Exhibition is Canada’s first immersive art show exploring the past, present and future of psychedelics, currently taking over the completely transformed Lithuanian House (1573 Bloor St. W.). The ambitious exhibition looks at society’s complex and often controversial relationship with psychedelics, promising a unique audiovisual “edutainment” experience.
Visitors can roam three floors featuring spectacular original works from a diverse lineup of more than 22 internationally-acclaimed artists, including:GMUNK, Clandestinos, Brotherhood of Light, Liquid Light Lab, Amalie R. Rothschild, Alex McLeod, MEAR ONE, Pablo Amaringo, John Speaker, Lawrence Schiller, Natasza Zurek, Andrew Osta, Jim Figora, Chris Dyer, Ioannis, Emily May Rose, Ted Wallace, Casey Watson, Bioworkz, Burt Vera Cruz, Rodrigo Perez Estrada, Wumplestiltskin, and Nate Hill.
“We’re seeing significant change in the way psychedelic substances are used and perceived. The testimonials are undeniable: patients with serious mental health conditions like PTSD, depression, anxiety or addiction are trying psychedelic therapies — when nothing else has worked — and reporting life-altering benefits,” says James Drayton, the producer of Psychedelics: The Experiential Exhibition. “My goal with the show is to, first and foremost, provide guests with an entertaining and eye-opening experience. My hope is that it also encourages learning, dialogue, and ultimately, destigmatization.”
Drayton shares his passion and reasoning for launching this project, “I’ve been searching for and analyzing concepts within what I consider to be the intersection of art, technology and experience, for a few years, trying to find something WORTHY of actually pursuing. I wanted to find a concept that wasn’t just instagrammable eye candy, but had substance, a purpose, cultural significance. Not only are psychedelics the perfect subject to build a sensory experience around, but there’s a story worth telling and a message worth spreading – psychedelics are being used responsibly, and legally, to help people with serious mental health conditions, and the results are valuable.”
The exhibition guides viewers through a series of curated spaces, each devoted to a different psychedelic substance and its historical or traditional uses, from the psychoactive brew consumed in the Eleusinian Mysteries of Ancient Greece, to the role of ayahuasca in Indigenous religious ceremonies in South America; through to the Acid Tests and experimentation of the “psychedelic ‘60s”, and finally, exploring LSD’s current role as a promising therapy for intractable mental health conditions.
Show highlights include: an immersive peyote installation by the Latin–Canadian artistic duo Clandestinos, featuring their massive signature hypnotic murals; a recreation of a 1960s Bay Area Acid Test, with mesmerizing liquid light visuals by Allman Brothers and Grateful Dead collaborators Brotherhood of Light and Liquid Light Lab as well as original images by iconic documentary photographers Amalie R. Rothschild, and Lawrence Schiller; and Alex McLeod’s fantastical video triptych “Intertwined,” which will be projected into a space exploring the history and renewed popularity of psilocybin.
The grand finale is found in the second floor ballroom, where viewers enter into a fully immersive audiovisual installation by internationally renowned artist GMUNK – known for his enigmatic, atmospheric, metaphysical works. The large-scale installation guides participants through a 9-minute “ayahuasca ceremony”, channelled via a shamanic totem (best experienced rather than described) and featuring GMUNK’s signature lighting, sound, lasers, and projection mapping of the fully activated light sculpture.
Until recently, the lively culture of psychedelic research and experimentation was forced underground. Psychedelics: The Experiential Exhibition celebrates its recent renaissance while contemplating its future potential. Prepare to have your mind expanded.
The exhibition runs Wednesdays through Sundays, with operating hours varying slightly each day, and purchased tickets scheduled on the hour. Tickets are available for adults and children aged 13 and up ($30); kids aged three to 12 ($25), with kids two and under free. Peak time tickets (Fridays from 7 to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 7 to 9 p.m.) are $35 each. Tickets are on sale now and available exclusively through www.psychedelicsshow.com.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.