29Rooms is a traveling art exhibit created by digital media titan Refinery29 back in September 2015. Since then, 29Rooms has expanded and become a vibrant community that supports local artists and creatives. Their core values are to create a positive impact, celebrate individuality, support inclusivity, and push the limits of the imagination.
Every year, the theme for 29Rooms varies. Back in 2015, when 29Rooms was just starting out, Refinery29 created an exhibit that took people through an experiential journey that focused on style and culture. In 2016, the theme was ‘Powered by People’. The experiences were inspired by the theme that people can and do create change – both big and small. In 2017, the theme shifted to ‘Turn Into Art’, which celebrated the power of creativity to transform, heal, and unify us. Finally, for 2018 through the end of 2019, the theme was ‘Expand Your Reality’. Through this theme, 29Rooms challenged people to think deeper and dream bigger by creating interactive art, promoting human connection, and expressing the importance of values.
29Rooms isn’t a simple art exhibit – you definitely don’t just stare at a painting on a wall. This exhibit differs from other museums because it allows people to get involved with the art. Visitors to 29Rooms are encouraged to touch, and in most cases, be a part of the art.
One such example was 29Rooms augmented reality (AR) installation, The Mirage. Visitors were immersed in a different type of experience by the power of their smartphones. You are handed headphones to wear for a fully immersive experience. Visitors were instructed to open up the Instagram app on their phones to find the profile for 29Rooms. Once there, you will see they had created a special AR filter. Next, you are guided into a dimly lit room with four pieces of art in each corner. One by one, as you hold your phone up to the art, you would watch it come to life in front of your eyes. The Mirage was an installation that was created with AR technology, with the help of some pretty cool filters from 29Rooms’ Instagram account (@29Rooms).
It’s so easy for most of us to get sucked into technology. Whether that means binge-watching your favorite Netflix shows or scrolling mindlessly through your social media feeds. The 29Rooms exhibition aimed to encourage people to put their laptops, phones, and tablets away to focus on what truly matters – human connection.
Throughout the experience at 29Rooms, there was a constant theme of being present and living in the moment. One of the best installations, 29Questions, promoted this by encouraging people to step out of their comfort zones and talk to a stranger without having a phone in their face. The first exercise was to introduce yourself to each other. Then everyone had to close their eyes and attempt to remember things about their partner.
- What was the color of their eyes?
- What color was their shirt?
- Did they have facial hair?
These are just a few examples of questions that were asked.
Then, you were asked to stare into the stranger’s eyes for a good 35 seconds. It was this part that broke down the walls of vulnerability. Everyone was asked to look at the others’ eyes, ears, and chins in complete and utter silence. Lastly, they lead a game of questions. On the table in front of everyone was a stack of cards, and each card had a different question to ask their partner. At the end of it all, participants were able to learn a little bit about the stranger in front of them. Hopefully, after this experience, they were a little bit less of a stranger.
It’s so easy to become overly attached to the number of followers your account has or the number of likes and comments posts get. But this experience encourages everyone to take a moment to put down our phones and spend time with those around us and live in the present moment.
Values and Change
Art can be a powerful tool to promote positive change in the world. That’s why every installment in the 29Rooms series had a powerful message behind it from the artists themselves. Art that carries profound meaning behind it stays with the viewer long after they’ve left the installation.
The installation that truly stood out was the ‘Value Stand’. It was the most political out of all the installments, but its message was loud and clear. It was a homage to the never-ending fight for civil rights and encouraged people to be aware of the world around them. It promoted activism and standing up for what you believe in.
Social media makes it easy to make your voice heard – as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. This is something to remember when engaging with the online community – whether it’s sharing a video on YouTube, a photo on Instagram, or a tweet on Twitter, ask yourself:
- What are your photos and videos saying about you?
- What kind of message do you want to spread?
- How will you represent yourself?
- What are you promoting or supporting?
These are all important questions to ask yourself, whether you are an individual, influencer, or business.
29Rooms is a modern take on a classic museum. The traveling exhibit creates an immersive experience for visitors by integrating interactive art installations and focusing on the importance of human connection. This also gives artists a platform to share their values and perspectives through the art they create.
The exhibition has been able to gain mass popularity thanks to the power of social media. Not only is every installation “Instagrammable”, but every visitor is encouraged to take photos and share their experience online by tagging @29Rooms or by using their branded hashtag #ExpandYourReality. Social media is a powerful tool that brands can leverage to grow their business. As a marketing tool, social media can be utilized to build hype for a business, raise awareness for a cause, or promote a service or product.
This experience is important because it sparks a new interest in art and encourages creativity. For artists, the traveling exhibit is a way for them not just to showcase their creations, but also tell their story through their art. That’s why 29Rooms is such a remarkable experience – the exhibits are more than just pretty paintings and sculptures. Every piece in the installation has a backstory as told by the artist. Thanks to 29Rooms, and social media, these artists can reach millions of people, just by the click of a smartphone.
Have you ever thought about using social media to grow your business, but didn’t know where to start? At Margaux, we help brands become recognizable. Click here to schedule a consultation with us!