WEIRD SENSATION FEELS GOOD
An exhibition about ASMR
8 April - 1 November 2020
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.
Although this exhibition is now closed, it will open at the Design Museum in Spring 2022.
Watch it in full on e-flux →
Hear an audio introduction →
Archive of Feelings
Tell us what triggers you →
Read the exhibition booklet →
Try it out on Instagram →
Conversations on ASMR →
Hear from the curator
Listen to an episode of the podcast Konsten att vara →
Relive Claire Tolan’s two live performances →
Experience Melinda Lauw’s virtual ASMR performance →
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
Dive into a collection of conversations with voices in and around the creative field ASMR
SOFT GOSSIP by Claire Tolan
Take part in two live ASMR performances (October 3-4, 2020) with programmer and sound artist Claire Tolan
On the Potential of ASMR
Experience a conversation between Claire Tolan and the artist Sonia Sagan on the potential of ASMR
A Virtual ASMR Performance
Experience a live virtual ASMR performance (October 24, 2020) created and led by Melinda Lauw
Making a Work of ASMR
Follow a three-part film presenting the work and process of ASMRctica, one of Sweden’s largest ASMRtists. You can watch parts one and two 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.