Last weekend I visited the Future of Sports installation on H Street in DC. I also read an article titled Selfie Factories: The Rise of the Made-for-Instagram Museum. Both got me thinking.
MADE FOR INSTAGRAM ART
The Future of Sports is a “pop-up art installation” featuring several brightly colored rooms with various sports themes. As the website says, “Lose yourself in 10,000 square feet of games, shoot a basketball in our hologram basketball court, throw a football in our football arcade room, sink into our volleyball court made out of salt… Come Play!”
Except there is no playing. There’s a lot of waiting. And waiting. And continuing to wait. And finally giving up, accepting that these groups of people spending 30 minutes getting the ultimate Snapchat selfie will never let you experience the exhibit, and finally leaving.
OKAY, I GET IT, BUT…
As a blogger and someone who loves taking pictures, I get it. I understand there’s a new era of art that caters to an audience looking to post their perfectly composed pictures on Instagram. Believe me, I snapped a picture or two at the Future of Sports, as evidenced here. I went to see Yayio Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors when it came to the Hirshhorn. I totally buy into these installations which take off on social media, and I am absolutely willing to expand my definition of art to include these interactive, brightly colored, contemporary works.
I also understand that museums have seen their numbers go off the charts once an exhibit goes viral. If the opportunity to take the must-have Instagram of the moment is what it takes to sell memberships, then let’s keep trying to replicate Wonder. Art can be energetic and ordinary and edgy all at the same time, and it can designed to be consumed in a way that’s distributed back out into the world. The experience can be the art — but we need to be able to experience it.
There’s a balance between capturing that perfect shot and actually living, breathing, and experiencing the work. Take 2 or 3 photos, and then just be. And let the others around you do the same. Trust me, the first selfie probably looks the same as the 50th, and you’re going to miss the feeling, the colors, the details, the action while you’re laying down on the floor for half an hour staring at your iPhone camera.