WEIRD SENSATION FEELS GOOD
An exhibition about ASMR
Until 1 November
ASMR is a term that describes a physical sensation: euphoria or deep calm, sometimes a tingling in the body. In recent years an online audience of millions has grown, dedicated to watching the work of designers and content creators who try to trigger this feeling in their viewers.
Visit the exhibition
On April 7th, 2020, this exhibition opened with a digital vernissage! Watch it in full on e-flux →
Hear an introduction to the exhibition →
Archive of Feelings
Contribute to an archive of ASMR triggers →
Read the exhibition booklet →
Try it out on Instagram →
Hear Swedish poets read their works in soft whisper →
A series of conversations on ASMR →
This is the first museum exhibition dedicated to this feeling and the emerging field of creativity that has grown up around it. As little as a decade ago, ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) was largely dismissed as a figment of the imagination. Today the term represents one of the largest movements on the Internet, and it has become impossible to ignore. As academic institutions around the world seek to make sense of the phenomenon, creatives—known as “ASMRtists”—are building on a cultural movement that transcends language and culture in favour of bodily ‘feels’.
Like meditation or yoga, ASMR happens to both your body and to your mind. It is not about speed, but about focus and slowness. ASMRtists do not seek to entertain but to relax; for experiencers, it offers a degree of insulation from a noisy, wandering world. Through sound and film, shared through broadcasting platforms such as YouTube, works of ASMR make room for close-looking, close-listening, and close-feeling.
ASMR injects the Internet with softness, kindness and empathy. As a form of digital intimacy, it offers comfort on demand, standing against the feeling of isolation that constant connectivity can deceptively breed. Anecdotally, ASMR is being used as a form of self-medication against the effects of loneliness, insomnia, stress, and anxiety. This is a cue to its success, and to its transcendental appeal.
WEIRD SENSATION FEELS GOOD is the first exhibition of its kind to lift ASMR out from your screen and into public space. Step into an acoustically tuned environment and understand how people are deploying new and existing tools and materials to negotiate a complex world.
The exhibition features a broad collection of ‘Unintentional-‘ and ‘Intentional-ASMR’ in a cross-section of global ASMR culture. Alongside contributions by ASMRtists from around the world, the exhibition also features works by motion designers, sound artists, and the renowned television artist Bob Ross.
Holly Herndon + Claire Tolan
Life with MaK
Made in France ASMR
SHU AND TREE
The Slow Mo Guys
Wang & Söderström
Archive of Feelings
Click here to contribute to an anonymous archive of ASMR triggers! Your responses will become part of an Archive of Feelings, created in collaboration with the online archive Are.na. Developed by Charles Broskoski.
Dive into a collection of live conversations with voices in and around the creative field ASMR, broadcast each week from the exhibition, here
Curator: James Taylor-Foster
Exhibition Producer: Halla Sigurðardóttir
Exhibition Design: ĒTER
Graphic Design: Irene Stracuzzi ✕ PostNew
Installation: Markus Eberle, Stefan Mossfeldt
Production (Programming): Elisabet Schön
Digital Communication: Justina Hüll
Translation: Astrid Trotzig
The exhibition title references the first online discussion about this sensation in 2007, later coined as “ASMR” by Jennifer Allen in 2010.