The recent release of Radiohead’s virtual experience ‘KID A MNESIA Exhibition’ on November 18th brought veteran fans and those who have never even heard of the British band to one common platform: the Epic Games Store.
The KID A MNESIA Exhibition celebrates the 20th anniversary of, arguably, two of their most important albums, KID A and Amnesiac. Both were recorded around the same timeframe of January 1999 to April 2000, with KID A releasing in October 2000 and Amnesiac in May the following year. As an exhibition, the virtual experience features the player (or, rather, attendee) moving through a series of rooms with a variety of styles and music included from the mashup Kid A MNESIA album. The album itself features songs from both previously mentioned albums, and a third disc named Kid Amnesiae, which includes previously unreleased material, including remixes of songs, Pulk/Pull – True Love Waits Version being one example, as it mixes an original song from the Amnesiac album (Pulk/Pull) with True Love Waits which had been released in 2016, and isolated string tracks of the songs How to Disappear Completely and Pyramid Song.
The Exhibition itself was developed by [namethemachine] and Arbitrarily Good Productions, with Thom Yorke, Stanley Donwood, and Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich. They were also working with artist and creative director Sean Evans, producer Matthew Davis, and theatre set designer Christine Jones, all of which work for [namethemachine]. They had a single principle, and that was for there to be no new material within the experience, due to there being large amounts of existing material waiting to be used.
The release of an exhibition like this brings one question to mind; “Will we see more of this in the future?”
Personally, playing through the exhibition and looking in every nook and cranny, it gave me a deeper appreciation for the work done, to bring this experience from a concept to a portable physical installation, and I genuinely think that it wouldn’t do it enough justice as a solo virtual product. There are so many more things that a creative group such as Radiohead can do when they’re not limited by the real world, including quite literal out of body experiences. With this release, and the large amounts of positive feedback, the short answer to the question above is ‘yes’, and the long answer would be ‘depending on which groups believe in interacting with their fans like this’. Radiohead is another candidate, although their other albums, in my opinion, won’t be able to evoke an equally unpleasant feeling as you walk through the corridors, unknowing of what is in the rooms ahead. Of course, there could be simple virtual concerts rather than entire exhibitions, but at this moment in time, there’s no way of telling until we see more artists take the plunge into the ‘virtual experience’ world.