Review: Art Exhibitions

The Design Museum

WEIRD SENSATION FEELS GOOD: The World of ASMR

Have you ever heard the phrase ASMR being thrown about and wondered what it actually represented? It stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. To break this down even more, it relates to the physical feeling of tranquillity, or in some instances euphoria, that is evoked within your body; this sensation is triggered by sound, touch and movement.

Introducing some key definitions

Some examples that can be triggers for people are tapping, whispers, scraping, echoes etc. The word frisson is used to describe the “aesthetic chills” one may experience during ASMR. Misophonia is when an individual is affected emotionally be common sounds such as yawning, breathing – usually these sounds are made by humans. Synaesthsia is when one sense is simultaneously linked to another sense. For example, some people might associate a colour to the days of the week, link sounds to textures or give concepts to the alphabet.

What else is left to discover regarding ASMR?

Some areas that researchers would like to further explore are as follows:

  • Physiological responses to ASMR such as pupil dilation, EEG
  • Profiling of brain activity during ASMR
  • Analysis of serotonin and other neurotransmitters before and after ASMR
  • Social and anthropological implications
  • Pros and Cons of ASMR

Thoughts on the Exhibition

The exhibition definitely taught me a lot and opened my eyes to how ASMR is more than all the aesthetically pleasing sounds and footage social media throw at us. It’s become a form of “digital intimacy” that individuals use to self-medicate against loneliness, stress, anxiety and insomnia.

I discovered that visual ASMR appeals to me much more than auditory stimuli. I’m quite particular when it comes to sound, and what I find soothing and what sounds I can merge into the background and relax to. I lean towards coastal sounds, and more muted, dull sounds.

This was my favourite exhibition. It satisfied my curiosity but was also comforting. The artists behind these pieces play with hyper realism and creating uncanny experiences where laws of physics are challenged. The above are images but the actual artwork was a digital video.

I was also introduced to the artist Bob Ross for the first time and I was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting to get agitated by his slow voiceover whilst he paints live with a commentary but also the brush strokes and cleansing of materials audible. However, it was somewhat relaxing and enjoyable. I’ve linked his channel for you here.

It was also kind of cool to see just how much ASMR is unintentionally incorporated into adverts these days. Next time you watch a montage or advert, pause to think how much of this can be considered ASMR. How much of it relaxes or offers you comfort due to the visual and auditory stimuli provided – is it intentional effective marketing or is it coincidental?

There was also a chamber in which we could explore and attempt to recreate ASMR ourselves. However, there wasn’t a whole range of textures of sounds to create when it came to DIY.

To conclude, the exhibition slightly disappointed me as I anticipated a lot more visual stimuli and a more hands on experience when it comes to understanding the concept of ASMR and how it’s produced.

Regardless, I’d still recommend it to others to view as it was a wholesome learning experience and you get exposed to a lot of new content and artists.

Yinka Ilori: PARABLES FOR HAPPINESS

Yinka Ilori embraces a mixture of cultures to bring together his vibrant aesthetic. Some of his inspirations are drawn from Nigerian textiles – the fabrics and geometric patterns he grew up with.

Designer Maker User

This part of the museum focuses on almost a thousand items from the twentieth and twenty first century. We view these through the scope of: designer, manufacturer and user. It’s very diverse and covers from architecture to engineering to fashion, graphs and the digital world to list a few.

The area is split into three categories – Designer, Maker and finally User. Throughout this, we catch glimpses into prototypes of early models, the thought processes behind designs, projects at different scales of progression and can trace the evolution from design a concept to manufacturing it into reality.

We were able to see mass customisation, 3D printing, and items such as tennis balls but even the 2012 Olympic torch at various stages of production.

I think the part that was quite overwhelming was seeing famous brands such as Apple, Sony, or even the original typewriter and seeing just how much has progressed. Observing the progression in design and how that’s effectively impacted the way we communicate is just mind blowing to see.

There’s also a crowd source wall which was interesting to read. It showed the most popular projects that the public funded in each category.

Flannels’ Exhibition

Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find much details relating to this exhibition. It’s currently being held in the basement floor of the store Flannels, and it’s free entry. This ties nicely into visual ASMR and the soundtrack being used was perfect. Honestly, it felt amazing sitting there taking it all in. Sadly, my WordPress plan doesn’t allow me to upload videos…so hope these photos can do the experience justice!

And that’s a wrap on my artsy yet educational London trip!

Let me know what types of ASMR appeals to you, and which ones you despise!

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