29 Rooms is an interactive art experience curated by Refinery 29 where artists and brands come together to create 29 Instagramable backdrops for your content creating enjoyment. I was really excited about 29 rooms, and super thankful my friend was able to get me in – but I’d be lying if I said that the “do it for the gram” attitude of the place didn’t leave a sour taste in my mouth.
The grammable art experiences seem to be popping up a lot these days, and my natural contrarian attitude wants to rebel against the museum of ice cream and happy place and say – no I won’t just go for the gram. I want to go for not only the visual stimulation but the intellectual stimulation. And not to say you can’t just go to something cause it’s just fun, cause I’m sure the museum of ice cream and happy place are fun for people. Maybe if I was better at posing in front of a camera I’d drink less of the haterade and be all about those fun and funky backdrops. But with 29 Rooms, we couldn’t even see all of the rooms because of limited time, mismanaged logistics, and the full-on photoshoots taking place in front of us.
I love getting that great Instagram moment as much as the next person, but I don’t want to do it at the expense of cultural enrichment. I’d like to know the who, what, and why behind what I experience. And sure, maybe some of the 29 Rooms were just sponsored pop-ups made by a collection of set designers who have no emotional investment in the mini-environment they created, but I know for a fact some of the rooms / installations were more than that and to not provide proper information educating people places the LGBTQ install on the same level of importance as the pink sand Shea Moisture install.
To give them some credit, there were small placards affixed to the wall next to the door of some of these rooms, but they were hard to read and considering the entire experience was just more of a mad dash to see what room you could get in, one ended up being more focused on trying to have an experience than finding the information on the room. I really wish they would have the info someplace online (I’ve yet to find it).
In my ideal world, 29 rooms would have time slots, and you’d walk through each room with about a minute or two to enjoy each space. Hell, make it 30 seconds, Yayoi Kasuma’s Infinity Rooms was 30 seconds and worth every moment. But I’m not the curator of 29 Rooms, and I just have to accept that our world is moving into a place where smart people can make money off those that want to enjoy an interactive highly Instagramable art experience. I just hate it when I become a pawn, and totally know I’m a pawn – and am a little ok with being a pawn.