The imposing classical architecture of the South Australian Institute building on North Terrace is well known to most people in Adelaide. It's the oldest building in the cultural precinct, and has been a part of the State Library of South Australia for many years. Once a place where elderly people dozed over the day's newspapers in the late afternoon sun, the Institute has come alive as a fantastic new venue for the Adelaide Fringe Festival the Digital Arcade.
As you enter the Institute building you pass through a portal into a new dimension of digital technology. Google's Creative Lab has partnered with the Adelaide Fringe to bring some exciting new free things to do in Adelaide at the Digital Arcade. From February 17 to March 19 technophiles can join in the fun and adventure with a simple free booking online (or chance getting a place without booking).
Welcome to the Virtual Reality Playground at the State Library SA
There are two main attractions here - on the left of the main entrance is the Virtual Reality playground, where visitors can don a set of Virtual Reality (VR) goggles (ages 13 and up) and immerse themselves in any of five scenarios. The widely different VR stories have been curated by Crossover Labs and permit some very unusual experiences.
Defend planet Earth against a realistic alien invasion, experience first hand the many challenges faced daily by a cerebral palsy sufferer, or watch a powerful and delightfully grotesque animation - you have the option of five different Virtual Reality scenarios to experience. Helpful and friendly volunteer guides will assist you along every step of the way.
One of the Free Things to Do for the Adelaide Fringe
Towards the rear of the Institute building you can find Love at Fifth Site in the Digital Arcade. Described as "An interactive short film about love", Love at Fifth Site uses the technology of your smartphone to help you become part of the action in this five stage digital experience.
The Adelaide Fringe Festival website describes Love at Fifth Site this way: Falling in love can leave us lost for words, even though there's plenty racing through our head. Presented by Google's Creative Lab and Grumpy Sailor, this quirky, interactive film allows you to explore the inner thoughts of two characters across a series of serendipitous and sometimes awkward encounters that eventually lead to Love at Fifth Site.
We can't tell you too much about the interactive journey of Love at Fifth Site for fear of spoiling the experience. But it's one of the free things to do at the Adelaide Fringe that you simply mustn't miss. Let the free Digital Arcade at the State Library show you the awesome immersive power of digital technology.
I visited on the first day that the Digital Arcade and VR Experience started operating, and it was already getting busy. You had better be quick to take advantage these fantastic free things to do at the State Library, and while you're there take a look at the new Play exhibition on the Treasures Wall. Let it bring out the inner child in you, and if you can - see the complementary new show on the Story Wall at the State Library at night. The projection display is simply stunning.