This museum wants to change the way you feel about your selfie
Do it for the shares. Do it for the likes. Do it...because it's human nature. The Museum of Selfies aims to change the way you see the infamous selfie.
L.A. has become a hotbed for interactive "museum" installations — that is, places designed to take selfies along with the art. Places like Museum of Ice Cream, 29 Rooms, Happy Place.
And now there's another one jumping into the mix.
The Museum of Selfies is opening its doors this weekend in Glendale. The mission: to "explore the history and cultural phenomenon of the selfie."
Before you roll your eyes, give it a chance. One of the people behind the museum used to feel pretty negatively about selfies himself.
"I saw them as empty and shallow," said Tommy Honton, the museum's co-creator, "and sort of tied together with screen culture and the addiction that comes with living life through a screen."
Honton would have been the last person expected to take on this kind of project. He describes himself as a writer, game designer and narrative experience creator. He doesn't even have a social media presence. But in the Museum of Selfies, he saw a new kind of challenge.The challenge was on and the stage was set. Honton embarked on his journey to change the way the public feels about selfies.
One of the first rooms you come across at the Museum of Selfies features a giant timeline along the wall that denotes important historical points in the selfie's history. It's an effort to put things into context. The room also features a life-size re-creation of Van Gogh's "Bedroom in Arles" painting.
The point is to show the visitor that beautiful art is part of the selfie's history and DNA.Next to Van Gogh's room is the black and white room.
The monochromatic room commemorates black and white photography, an era that saw the first known selfie photo. The room is meant to reflect how photography really evolved and how it lead to the creation of the selfie.
Going deeper into the museum brings your closer to the present day selfie as we know it. There's a whole section that commemorates food and the large role food has played in selfie culture.
The room dedicated to the bathroom selfie really threw A Martinez for a loop. And it is a bit jarring. You walk in expecting to see yourself in what you think is a giant mirror. But you've been duped.
There is no mirror. The point of eliminating the mirror is to get people to reflect.
The concept of the gym room began with a question: Why are gyms a place where people take a lot of selfies?
It's all a part of the human experience
While curating the museum, Honton felt his perception of selfies slowly changing, and it's a journey he hopes visitors will take as well.
"I used to lump everyone who took selfies into the category of...Blech. But now, I only vomit a little bit," Honton joked.As Honton and A Martinez complete their selfie journey and come to one of the last interactive exhibits the museum has to offer, the question about changing people's minds crops up again. And with that, the two of them commemorate the moment with a selfie on the selfie stick throne.