The Strategy of ‘Flattening’ in the Selfie Museum and its Relevance for Architecture
The focal point of this essay is the turn from the display of objects to the display of environments, a change that blurs the line between the body and the display, and arguably absorbs the subject into the object. This turn is enabled by the digital age, as well as ‘the experience economy’, and is manifested in the rise of immersive display systems. The Selfie Museum epitomizes this cultural shift. In the Selfie Museum, subject and object aren’t the sole dichotomies that are conflated; physical space combines with the virtual image; the still moment merges in the temporal experience; and two-dimensional projections are overlaid onto three-dimensional structures. As a result, architects become ‘experience designers’, virtual reality is a mode of design practice, and an ‘instagrammable’ moment is a project deliverable. In this essay I simultaneously acknowledge these changes and critique them. At the same time, I offer the combination of apparent oppositions as a potential new set of tools that can help rethink aspects of the architecture discipline and profession. By studying the Selfie Museum as both an architectural typology and a socio-political entity, I challenge the traditional museum as an institution, classic body image perceptions, and the common concept of a tourist destination.
Adams, Susan. ‘The 25-Year-Old Behind The Museum Of Ice Cream’, Forbes Magazine, 19 May 2017, https://forbes.com.
Bennett, Tony. The Birth of the Museum: History, Theory, Politics. London: Routledge, 2009.
Bruno, Giuliana. Surface: Matters of Aesthetics, Materiality, and Media. Chicago: University of Chicago
Foucault, Michel (trans. Alan Sheridan). Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. London: Penguin Books, 1977 .
Pine, Joseph B. and James H. Gilmore. The Experience Economy. Cambridge, MA, Harvard Business Press, 2011.
Schivelbusch, Wolfgang (trans. Angela Davies). Disenchanted Night: the Industrialization of Light in the Nineteenth Century. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 1998 .
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.