What began in 2017 as an idea among friends for an adult playground has become so much more.
Oklahoma City’s Factory Obscura is a collaborative company that provides jobs for artists; creates new experiences for the community; and supports arts education. It seeks to create a different way to experience art – one that engages and inverts the senses while encouraging play and joy.
Visitors can touch, crawl and explore the many details within the art experience. You’ll find a variety of textures, materials, sounds and light with which to interact.
It’s also designed to be enjoyed by and accessible to everyone, so it’s a place for people to connect through shared experiences.
Kelsey Karper, co-founder and director of logistical creativity at Factory Obscura, says there are few places like this collective, but even the ones that exist are quite different.
“While there are other examples of immersive art around the country, each reflects the artists who made them, and all are unique experiences that are built and operated in their own ways,” she says. “We have been excited to see other organizations and artist groups create temporary immersive or experiential art projects around the state.”
The team at Factory Obscura believes the “future is collaborative,” and every project requires a team of multidisciplinary creatives to achieve. They’re guided by an agreement referred to as the Code of Collaboration.
“We work together to design, fabricate and install immersive art experiences and handcrafted environments of visuals, sounds, textures and interactivity,” says Karper. “In the design process, the team focuses on some key qualities and elements that define our work: collaboration, immersion and interactivity, universal design, future positivity and wonder.
“For example, when we built Mix-Tape in our permanent space in downtown Oklahoma City, we brought together a multidisciplinary team of creatives, gave them a set of parameters to guide them to a cohesive concept, and worked collaboratively to design, build and install it together,” she continues.
Factory Obscura works with artists in a variety of ways. There are forms on the website for submitting work to retail shops and booking inquiries for performing artists. The team also occasionally invite artists for special events or projects; follow them on social media or sign up for their mailing list to be alerted on new happenings.
Factory Obscura also has a new experience open through June 4 at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman, entitled SYNESTHESIA. It’s inspired by the museum’s permanent collection, particularly the work of Olinka Hrdy. There is also a Factory Obscura pop-up shop inside the museum. Find more details at factoryobscura.com/synesthesia.
In 2023, you’ll find a full slate of events, performances and new experiences at the company. The team also loves to throw a good party; you can find events by visiting tickets.factoryobscura.com/events.