Immersive New Art Exhibit Hits Tampa Through Shipping Containers

TAMPA, Florida – Being a port city, Tampa has had its fair share of shipping containers. However, the containers you’ll find along Nebraska Avenue aren’t for transportation, they’re for entertainment.

“I know people are going up and down Nebraska every day and they see this site and they wonder what’s going on here, they see these shipping containers moving around,” Devon Brady said.

Brady isn’t the foreman of a construction site, he’s an artist at Crab Devil’s new destination, known as The Peninsularium, which is made up of over 25 shipping containers.

“It’s the kind of environment that a lot of people haven’t experienced in terms of art, they’re immersive environments, the art surrounds you 360 degrees, there’s sound elements, there’s mechanical elements, there’s lights, there’s all kinds of interactivity, and you can touch the art, you can move around, you can move through,” Brady said.

Brady is bringing his own creation to life inside his very own 2,700 cubic foot tube.

“It’s a setup that we call the Bait Ball, it’s kind of an underwater environment, so we put in these limestone columns and this big metal structure that we called the fish trap, it’s as well as you enter and leave the experience,” Brady said.

A few containers below, artist Michael Horn is assembling the pieces for his exhibition, Photonic Vibrations.

“Inside, we’re going to fill this container with panels covered in rings of LED lights that will animate in response to your movements,” Horn said. “And I’m really excited to be at the forefront of this new format that changes as you go through it.”

The Peninsularium is not expected to open until the end of the year, but the public will get a glimpse of the upcoming Gasparilla Music and Arts Festival.

“We’ll have everything set up in these containers, we’ll pick them up with a crane, put them on a truck, take them to the festival and drop them off and they’ll be ready to go,” Brady said.

“It’s going to give us a chance to kind of do a test and see how they’re doing in front of real people and it’s going to give people a chance to see what we’re doing here,” Horn said.

Crab Devil’s Janine Awai said if these containers are a big hit, it’s not just a win for Crab Devil, but for the entire East Tampa neighborhood.

“We really want to add value to this neighborhood, it’s an underserved population and we think culture and history should be front and center,” Awai said.

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Reggie S. Williams