40 laser projectors turn the Dutch painter’s masterworks—and tortured life—into an experience that surrounds you.
In a giant room above a former car dealership in the center of San Francisco, a plethora of huge, brightly colored sunflowers is being laser-projected onto a 27-foot-high wall. Soon, the sunflowers fade into a series of animated swirls, blinking stars, and vivid depictions of the lights of a late-19th-century French village reflected in an undulating river. And then four faces appear—each an upside-down self-portrait of Vincent van Gogh. Standing on a riser about 10 feet above the floor, you feel like you’re deep inside an animated interpretation of one of the famous Dutch artist’s most celebrated paintings, The Starry Night.