Art in Island: Changing the Way We View Art One Selfie at a Time

art-in-islandBy Sherah Ndjongo

News that the ‘selfie’ stick could soon be banned by museums and art galleries in Spain was announced shortly after the Smithsonian Institution has officially decided that the use of selfies sticks will no longer be permitted in all of its museums. If the bans are implemented, these institutions will be the latest to join the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery in London, and the Palace of Versailles as well as the Pompidou Centre in Paris in taking action against the increase of museum visitors taking photographs with the newly popular devices called selfie sticks.

While certain museums around the world strictly disallow the use of these devices for photography, Art in Island, an interactive art museum located in Quezon City near Manila, fully expects guests to apply selfie sticks to their advantage during a trip to the new three-dimensional art museum. It calls itself the “world’s first selfie museum” because visitors are allowed to take photographs free from any limitations. This unusual museum includes about 50 trick art murals that were painted by over eighteen Korean expert painters who were brought to the Philippines or the “selfie capital of the world” for this special project. These art pieces form optical illusions when viewed from a certain angle that make it seem as though the person posing is participating in the activity presented in the artwork.

All of the art murals were made to act as a setting so that museum attendees can be encouraged to climb into paintings or playfully pretend that they are being attacked by them and take photos of their fun interactions. Blyth Cambaya, the corporate secretary of Art in Island, told Mashable, “Here, art paintings are not complete if you are not with them.” Basically, since every art piece contains an entirely blank or modified segment, which means that the art isn’t considered complete until the guests play a role in the picture.

Art in Island is being praised for its non-traditional approach by both professionals and visitors. Ever since this museum has recently introduced its innovative method of interacting with masterpieces, it has gained popularity quickly. The museum is split into 10 zones which include different topics such as the animal kingdom, religion, fantasy, and historical masterpieces. By climbing on, posing with, and touching the art, guests will feel as if they have stepped into an alternate reality. It is also remarkably lenient as the museum’s goal is for visitors to make the most out of their interactions with the artwork. The only thing that is not allowed at the Art in Island museum is shoes just to prevent damaging the art pieces.

Such appreciation for Art in Island raises the question of whether museums like this one give visitors a more healthy perspective on art rather than ones that have a more serious atmosphere. What makes this experience even more refreshing is that it takes a mere two hours to explore and take photographs of the entire museum, which is a short amount of time compared to the days it will take to do the same at an institution such as the Louvre. Plus, at the majority of museums, it is the guards’ duty to constantly ask visitors to not to take pictures. This could be harmful to how guests view pieces of art. Art in Island, which is both an art museum and a playground, gives visitors the chance to create their own interpretations of artwork. Due to this, each perspective is neither right nor wrong; the art can be interpreted any way the viewer wants to see it. According to Art in Island’s Facebook page, “Whenever you visit an art museum, you are always expected to just look around quietly. You are not allowed to touch anything nor take pictures. That’s why, for those who think that (an) ‘art museum is not for me,’ we bring you Art in Island.”

About the Author: Sherah, 17, has been homeschooled for three years. “I am passionate about raising awareness about topics such as current events and culture and being able to effectively deliver a message that matters to me. I also enjoy researching and writing in hopes of educating, informing, and inspiring others.

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