Founder, Museum of Future Experiences
Jun 16, 2022
Walk into the current exhibit at the Museum of Future Experiences (MoFE) and you will be asked to contemplate the ancient question: “Who am I?” The MoFE take is that we’re all connected, woven inextricably together in the great cosmic quilt. It’s not, of course, a new point of view. What’s different here is how the folks at MoFE nudge you to that awareness — through a 20ish-minute guided meditation-poem with your eyes closed, followed by an equally long, surreal virtual reality experience featuring forests, fractals, splitting cells and one giant floating space fetus. (The evocation of “2001: A Space Odyssey” is not totally accidental.)
David Askaryan is the CEO and founder of MoFE, which is based in Williamsburg and is the latest local take on the sort of immersive experiences that seek to stimulate all five senses while simultaneously catering to the Instagram crowd. Previous exhibit-experiences since MoFE opened last June have included a riff on liminal spaces as well as a spooky virtual Halloween story set in Florida.
“Our core mission is to show people something they’ve never seen before,” Askaryan tells Brooklyn Magazine. In showing people something new, he says, MoFE is by definition offering a future experience.
A graduate of Harvard Business School, Askaryan, who is ethnically Armenian, was born in Azerbaijan. By the time he was 5, his family had moved to Uzbekistan and then Moscow before landing in Tampa, Florida. He has worked in the world of finance — from venture capital to hedge funds — but he’s also been a traveling musician and on staff at a slew of theater productions of the experimental kind.
It is no surprise, then, that MoFE is also more than one thing. Part immersive space and part production studio, the destination showcases the many facets of the VR experience by making use of a state-of-the art speaker system that allows for 360-degree soundscapes. Askaryan is already dreaming of expanding into other cities and offering the museum as a subscription-based online hub for virtual visitors with headsets at home.
“Seeing something you’ve never seen before is a great way to experience curiosity, awe, to see what’s possible,” he says. In an era of data-driven storytelling, he adds, “those feelings are getting more and more rare. And those feelings are an important part of being a human.”