Lovers of ancient Egypt will be able to step back in time with the debut of “Immersive King Tut: Magic Journey to the Light.”
A leading producer of immersive digital art galleries, Lighthouse Immersive’s newest exhibition will feature one of ancient Egypt’s most notable and youngest rulers, Pharaoh Tutankhamun, as a centennial commemoration of his tomb’s unearthing in November 1922. The launch of “Immersive King Tut” on September 30 at Lighthouse ArtSpace Phoenix will allow guests to experience the magic of ancient Egypt through advanced technology.
“It’s kind of a transforming experience, so I want people to enjoy it,” says Richard Ouzounian, the creative consultant for Lighthouse Immersive. “But I do want them to also walk away with knowledge that King Tut is more than that famous mask you’ve always seen.”
Ross and fellow producer Svetlana Dvoretsky established Lighthouse Immersive in 2019 in Toronto. The pair and its team have been trailblazing immersive art exhibits to great success since then, producing “Immersive Monet & the Impressionists,” “Immersive Frida Kahlo” and “Immersive Van Gogh” in cities throughout North America.
In its first exhibit dedicated to a historical figure instead of an artist, Lighthouse Immersive collaborated with the United Exhibits Group (UEG) and International Foundation for Fine and Decorative Arts (IFFDA) under the auspices of the Egyptian Council for Tourism Affairs to bring King Tut to life across the continent.
The pharaoh, who took the throne when he was only 9 years old, had a short reign from around 1332 to 1323 B.C. His story prompted a worldwide fascination with ancient Egyptian culture, spurred by the unearthing of his tomb a century ago by acclaimed archaeologist Howard Carter.
According to Ouzounian, the pharaoh’s tomb was found untouched. This was uncommon considering most tombs had been robbed of their artifacts and gold over the centuries.
“What people first saw was all this wealth, all these riches, all the Egyptian masks, the gods’ statues, but they saw the externals and they didn’t really get to what it all meant,” Ouzounian says.
In contrast to when the tomb was opened, he hopes that those who visit the Immersive exhibit can take away the significance of Egyptian civilization.
“This is really something completely different,” he says. “This is like history and religion and a whole culture, and you’re in the middle of it.”
The foundation for “Immersive King Tut” was inspired by the ancient Egypt exhibition “Quest for Immortality,” which premiered at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., before touring internationally for 15 years.
It is a retelling of the Amduat, a noteworthy ancient Egyptian funerary text, which were often found preserved in the tombs of pharaohs. Believed to be the oldest-known illustrated story, the Amduat depicts the sun god Ra as he travels through the underworld from sundown to sunrise.
The Immersive experience sets itself apart from past King Tut exhibitions by highlighting the pharaoh’s story and the magnificence of ancient Egypt through detailed visuals.
The exhibit’s design is the product of Cocolab, a Mexico City-based company with over a decade of experience in the development of innovative projects. Its creative team utilized a combination of animation and video mappings to capture a variety of thrilling sensations, such as a sinking boat and a giant serpent wrapping around the room.
“Audiences will experience a much more cinematic experience than other immersive shows,” César Moheno-Pla of Cocolab says in a statement. “We’ve developed groundbreaking animation techniques that will give the feeling of a true immersive experience; visitors will feel like they’re walking the halls and exploring the tombs of ancient Egypt.”
To educate guests about ancient Egyptian civilization, Ouzounian says the screens and pillars around the room display fun facts organized by an Egyptologist, a discovery timeline and information about the religion and culture.
“I think they (guests) will be surprised about how they get caught up in it. You may think, oh, this is just an old Egyptian story. But as the images start… As everything is surrounding you… There are times when the light is all around you, or when you think the boat King Tut is on is going to sink and you think the waves are all around you,” Ouzounian says. “It has very state-of-the-art animation. The fact that it is on all these screens, 360 degrees, and there are images projected on the ceiling and stuff projected on the floor — it just takes you away.”
“Immersive King Tut: Magic Journey to the Light”
WHEN: Various times Friday, September 30, to Sunday, November 13
WHERE: Lighthouse Artspace Phoenix, 4301 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
COST: Tickets start at $29.99; group discounts available