29Rooms Art Pop-Up In DTLA: A Complete Guide To All The Rooms
Refinery29, the "young women"-targeting digital media company, is bringing its 29Rooms art installation to downtown L.A. OK, art installation-slash-selfie opportunity.
They have celeb collaborators like Lena Waithe and Kesha, plus numerous artists and others helping to curate a wide variety of experiences. And some of the rooms have been switched up since its previous appearance in New York City.
Refinery29 co-founder Piera Gelardi noted that they'd received feedback from previous runs to offer more chances to connect. Now you'll find a number of the rooms inviting you to be part of the exhibition.
Some of the most striking rooms we saw were 2, 7, 13, 17, 25, 28, and 29. But act quick -- it's only in town Dec. 5-9.
Here's what you can find inside its various spaces.
ROOM 1: SHAKE IT OUT
This wasn't set up yet at the media preview, but it features those inflatable tube men (you know, like at car dealerships) and encourages you to pull a T-Swift and shake alongside yourself.
ROOM 2: INNER BEAUTY BALL
Curated by New York night club House of Yes, they promise a three-minute dance party with the pro dancers trying to pull you in and get you to have fun. You can put your all into it -- because after a few minutes, they play "Hit The Road Jack" so more visitors can cycle in.
ROOM 3: SONIC SANCTUARY
A room of mechanized gongs, in various sizes -- known as a Gamelatron -- create a soundscape amid low red light. A platform in the center invites you to sit or lay down and experience the sound coming from all around you. It's one of two paired rooms in the downstairs area of 29Rooms, offering a bonus that's not readily apparent when you first walk in.
ROOM 4: SONIC SHADOW
Before you even reach the sanctuary, you'll see a modern dance performance created in response to the sound. Multiple giant shadow images of each dancer are created through the placement of red lights, creating the illusion of more dancers than you see in front of you.
The low light means you probably wouldn't get any Instagrammable moments here anyway, but these rooms are among those where Refinery29 asks you to put your phone away and just enjoy the experience. If you're able to do so for a few minutes, maybe you'll have fun, who knows.
ROOM 5: IN LIGHT OF YOU
Stained glass lines a walkway with images presenting images of a spectrum of ideas about sex and gender.
ROOM 6: BLIND DATE WITH DESTINY
Visitors are invited to enter one of two sides of this room, with a barrier in between. Some instruction about palm reading is given out (one of a variety of pseudoscientific portions of 29Rooms), then one side of the room reads the palms of those on the other.
ROOM 7: A LONG LINE OF QUEENDOM
There are a number of social and political statements being made throughout 29Rooms, including this room. It celebrates black women and the power of a black woman's hair, with phrases on the wall about the black female experience.
ROOMS 8-9: THE FULL PICTURE
Another branded collaboration, this time with TNT, the small faux theater shows short films from Refinery29's Shatterbox film series. It promotes female filmmakers.
The reason this is two rooms is that you can actually open up the screen and walk through to the other side, coming out to directors' chairs and a marquee promoting women in Hollywood. You can sit in those chairs for your own photos alongside the marquee if you want to go drop some truth bombs on your social media feeds.
ROOM 10: KNOW! YOUR! RIGHTS!
A collaboration with the ACLU, this game show set features a game show wheel you can spin -- and when you pull off the piece of the wheel's pie you land on, you'll learn something about rights. There's also a test of strength that offers a variety of ways for you to get involved at its various levels. At the contestant stands, there are also, of course, opportunities to donate to the ACLU.
ROOM 11: STAR MATTER
Curated by Nicole Richie (what's up, Simple Life fans?), this features a starscape inside a tent, as well as a bright moon ball hanging overhead. It represents the California skies of the 1970s, and it's all set to classic rock, helping to put you in an otherworldly headspace.
ROOM 12: 29QUESTIONS
Perhaps the most personal space, this room challenges you to share the answers to intimate questions with strangers. You're paired up and encouraged to bare your soul.
ROOM 13: TEEN BEDROOM
This room delivers late '90s/ early 2000s teen bedroom vibes, from a Spice Girls poster to a functioning Nintendo 64 with Mario Kart running on it.
Everything is covered in fur, including the furry jackets in the closet, as you jump into a Pokemon-sticker-covered throwback room.
There's even a message board filled with controversial teen opinions -- like that the Backstreet Boys are better than 'N Sync. Wait, what?!
ROOM 14: MONEY MANTRAS
A real-life version of Refinery29's Money Diaries column, it features a pyramid of piggy banks backed up by economic affirmations. There are even cards you can take with some of these phrases on them, then place them inside the piggy banks as your own symbolic way of taking your finances into your own hands.
ROOM 15: THE VALUES STAND
One of the most obviously political displays, this stand features messages encouraging political engagement, paying women what they're worth, and more. Before the election, they offered people the chance to actually register to vote at a previous stop on the 29Rooms tour -- this time, they're encouraging you to get engaged for all those future elections, along with making a difference in your daily life.
ROOM 16: PLAY, RESCUE, REPEAT
On the other hand, this is one of the most obviously branded displays. It's meant to give those who go through a feeling of luxury, while also reminding them "Hey Pantene, Pantene Pantene Pantene?" The experience teaches new ways to wear your hair, while also visiting an opulent hair product fantasyland.
ROOM 17: IN TOUCH
One part ASMR plus one part blindfolded sensory experience equals this attraction. You put a mask put on, and some headphones, and you're taken into a hidden room. You're led through by the calm instructions, feeling your hands down a wall and touching items meant to make you feel as though you're in a cave, by a waterfall, in a field. Once you make your way through, you can peek back in to see what you were actually doing -- it's made up with objects that are at least a solid facsimile for what you're being told you're feeling while blindfolded.
ROOM 18: A CONVERSATION WITH YOUR INNER CHILD
The center of this room features amorphous statues representing you and your inner child, and you're encouraged here to engage in conversation with your own inner child. Slips of paper are provided for you to share with the world what your own inner child tells you -- they range from the profound to someone telling them that they should have gone to see Drake at the mall. Which is profound in its own way, we suppose.
ROOM 19: ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE
In another interactive experience, multiple artists display their own work while also offering art classes to visitors. Go learn how to create art, including one artist teaching you how to do so with unexpected parts of your body.
ROOM 20: BETWEEN THE SHEETS
Despite the suggestive title, this is a lot tamer than it sounds. Another guided audio experience -- but this one allowing you to see where you're going. You listen to a poem by Rupi Kaur, while picking up and carrying sand, symbolizing what weighs you down, before disposing it at the end of your journey. The floor is covered in sand, so be careful to avoid that socks-full-of-sand feeling.
ROOM 21: A DIFFERENT TUNE
Two local L.A. choirs rotate in this presentation from GLAAD and the Trans Chorus, presenting joyful music by rainbow-clad choir members.
ROOM 22: LOVE LETTER TO THE WORLD
Performance artist Cocovan presents an ongoing project, where people are encouraged to contribute to a love letter to the world. You can add your own words to writing from thousands of others from 115 countries on long scrolls, which would reach skyscraper-height if allowed to fully roll out.
ROOMS 23-24: NO FILTER
Two rooms with different light setups give you the chance to strike a pose. You'll see the different ways that light can change your look thanks to angles, color, and shadow.
ROOM 25: CLAIM THE STAGE
Another branded space, this one from Amazon Prime promotes the near-universally beloved Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which conveniently comes back for its second season this week. You can get up onstage and grab the old-school microphone -- and they'll also give you the chance to get your own name on the board to replace that of Midge Maisel. New nicely labeled profile pics, anyone?
ROOM 26-27: YOU ARE MAGIC
This collaboration with the Hoodwitch (yes, that is a thing) is another on the new age side of things, as you choose between rooms in a pseudo-cave environment.
They're crystal caves, like Krypton. The Hoodwitch helps guide visitors to tap into what's described as their own inner magic.
ROOM 28: DEEP SEA GALAXY: WELCOME TO MY MIND
One of the biggest names to curate a room is pop star Kesha, and her room invites you to visit a world that's part-space, part-ocean. You even get offered a helmet to start your journey into sea-space, offering you a tinted perspective at neon jellyfish, stalactites and stalagmites, and more dayglo wonder.
ROOM 29: OH SAY CAN YOU SEE
The 29th room is one of the most powerful, curated by writer/actress Lena Waithe. You enter a dark room surrounded by four screens -- sometimes the same images are projected on each, and sometimes they differ.
They juxtapose black excellence against discrimination and violence against blacks, with most of the film scored to Whitney Houston's breathtaking rendition of the National Anthem at the Super Bowl.
BONUS: MORE BRANDING, THE 29TH DIMENSION, AND THE PLAN B HOTLINE
You'll find more branding from Birchbox in their Hello Beautiful display -- basically a glorified makeup counter -- along with a drag show courtesy of Smirnoff.
In one of the more serious of the other exhibits, there's a series of phone booths sponsored by Plan B. You can pick up the phone and hear real stories from people who relied on emergency contraception.
There are also various "the 29th Dimension" locations throughout the space. They offer you a chance to unlock and make use of special Instagram filters, as you share your experience on social media.
There, you made it through 29 rooms and more! Now go rest your legs and upload all the photos you didn't get a chance to post yet.
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