A new selfie “museum” in Sweden is flipping the script by making visitors both the artist and the exhibit. The “Youseum” in Stockholm has no works of art on its walls. Instead its brightly-decorated rooms are meant to serve as fun backgrounds for visitors’ selfies or videos. “You can take cool pictures and create cool content for your Instagram… This is the perfect place to do Tiktoks,” manager Sofia Makiniemi told AFP as she showed off the “Emoji Room” filled with blue and yellow balls with smiley and frowning faces.
Other rooms let you bury yourself in candy-colored foam sticks, strike a pose under neon lights, or sit on a giant pink swing for your next profile picture. “You have the lighting, you have the Tiktok music, you have snacks, you have all the things that we like,” said 18-year-old Zeneb Elmani, who was visiting with a group of friends. She loved its “2020s era” vibe.
‘Too late to worry’
For Makiniemi, the Youseum, which is in a shopping mall, lets visitors be the artists themselves, even though the typical influencer may not consider their pictures to be art. “It’s an interactive museum where you can create the art you want to see,” she said. The Youseum concept began in the Netherlands, where they are already two. With social media ever more ubiquitous, concerns have grown about its dangers, especially its impact on the mental health of young people, in particular girls.
“It is a big part of our society today, so why not try to make it more creative,” Makiniemi argued. The group of young women visiting when AFP dropped in were even less concerned about a darker side or rampant narcissism. “I think this place is cute for people who love to take pictures, like my friends…Oh my god it’s so cute,” said 18-year-old Chaymae Ouahchi.
Though older generations may scoff at the idea of a museum dedicated to the seemingly self-indulgent practice of photographing yourself, 70-year-old professor Bill Burgwinkle who was visiting with his teenage niece, said we should embrace it. “I think it’s too late to worry. It’s the way the world is now,” he said, adding that the unorthodox museum seems to “serve its purpose”. – AFP