An XR experience by Mat Collishaw, BEDLAM is a virtual reconstruction of Bethlehem Hospital, the world’s first “hospital for lunatics” in the early 17th century. The XR experience will depict the hospital as it was then: absurd, shocking, grotesque and ultimately poignant.
By means of augmented reality, interactive artificial intelligence, and robust academic research, BEDLAM attempts to understand our fascination with the ‘abnormal’. Visitors will be able to wander down dark corridors and hold the bars as they peer into various cells, each with a different patient from the hospital for the insane.
The experience will strike a balance between spectacle and shifting perceptions of what is acceptable, using contemporary references to engage with audiences today. Visitors will become complicit in the installation once they adopt the VR headset and start navigating the space. Absorbed within a virtual reality, they will experience the perception of being both imprisoned and part of a spectacle.