Museums vs Experiences
After reading a recent NYT review of ‘Pop Up Experiences’ I wanted to put down in words the conflicting feelings I have on the future of cultural engagement:
Institutions act like institutions—they don’t make themselves accessible or inviting and are slow to react
The widespread interest in these experiences provide the polar opposite offering of true interaction and create Disney-like fantasy engagements
Should museums be responsible for creating these interactions or foster the growth of serendipitous reflection?
If the goal is to capture something on social media is there any real experience created at all? “The central disappointment of these spaces is not that they are so narcissistic, but rather that they seem to have such a low view of the people who visit them. Observing a work of art or climbing a mountain actually invites us to create meaning in our lives. But in these spaces, the idea of “interacting” with the world is made so slickly transactional that our role is hugely diminished. “
I hope the popularity of these pop-up experiences will demonstrate to cultural institutions and tastemakers that people hunger for moments of interaction and reflection and it is their job to provide for them to happen.