Kinsey Sullivan
March 19, 2015 8:57 am

With museums around the world banning selfie sticks (even while they may encourage selfie-taking as a social media marketing effort), we have to highlight this museum where selfies are the purpose of the art experience.

This is Art in Island, an “Interactive Art Experience” in the Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines. Here, famous paintings and other works of art are modified to facilitate selfie-taking. With these adjustments, the pictures look like you’re in the middle of the scene with the subjects!

It’s pretty amazing, and so far it seems to be really popular! Social media is full of pictures that visitors have shared. The museum’s Facebook page has more than 78,000 likes and 22,000 visits!

The museum was founded to help people reconnect to art in an approachable, personal way, according to their Facebook page.

“Art In Island allows visitors to interact and have fun with the art pieces,” the description says. “You can take as much pictures and videos as you want! Here in Art In Island, we want you to BE PART OF ART.”

That idea, that you could “be part of the art,” is a pretty cool shift from how art museums normally approach the art/audience relationship. In most museums, your job is to quietly appreciate and leave no trace. But art museums wouldn’t exist without viewers, and downplaying their role in the experience only makes a lot of people feel like art museums aren’t for them.

Art in Island recognizes that, and is trying to change it in their own way. While this may feel like an art theme park, this 3D art museum is a bright signal to art museums around the world that people want to engage more with the artwork.

Traditional museums want to create an environment that lets people appreciate the art (read: quietly and privately). For a long time, that was assumed to be the best and only way to truly experience it. Art in Island is a proud counterpoint to that argument.

Here, the art (while admittedly not of the same quality as The Met, for example) is made to be enjoyed and played with! While it may feel slightly like an art theme park, this 3D art museum is a bright signal to art museums around the world that people want to engage more with the artwork. Maybe they just don’t want to engage with the work in the way that traditional museums envisioned.

What might non-traditional engagement look like at one of the old-guard museums? How about quiet hours, and hours where you can talk and discuss actively? Maybe more obvious photo ops will become prevalent. We may even start to see visitor-led discussions.

In the meantime, Art in Island is a perfect example of a quirky, futuristic art museum that we honestly just want to visit. Like now.

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