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A trip down the River Styx makes good virtual reality and better performance art

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The Oculus Rift is a thing. Adding physical effects in virtual reality is a thing. Sending people on dark, otherworldly journeys on boats is a very successful thing. But it's rare to see a video that pulls these elements together so perfectly and dramatically. Above is The Styx, a VR experience that's emphatically an art installation, not a game. The Styx was developed by art collective Skullmapping for the Belgian Leuven in Scène festival. If you visited when it was shown off there in July, you found yourself entering an exact, scanned version of the room you were in. On your trip to the underworld, you were misted with water from the River Styx, jostled in the boat, and asked for your coin of passage by Charon, ferryman for the dead.

If you're watching now, you get to see a bizarre piece of performance art in which one person shakes, lunges, and occasionally just curls up in their chair, screaming, while stagehands hover around them, dripping water on their head with eyedroppers and pointing some kind of gun-like hand-cranked tube at them for reasons we don't fully understand. You can also find out more about The Styx and Skullmapping's other projects on their site.