29Rooms LA 2018 the Year to Expand Your Reality

January 11, 2019

Didn’t get a chance to visit this year’s 29Rooms LA? Although the event is already over, I’m sharing some of my favorite rooms from this past year’s #ExpandYouReality theme and why this artistic playground is worth a visit next year.

What is 29Rooms LA?

Refinery29 has done it again – another year of 29 fun, beautiful, and multi-sensory rooms to experience! If you don’t already know, the media & entertainment company, Refinery29, hosts an annual cross-country tour of installations, performances, and workshops called 29Rooms. Every year there is a theme – this year’s theme centered around creativity, technology, culture and connection delivered through individual rooms to #ExpandYourReality. Last year I attended the event for the first time, I was completely dazzled and made the internal decision that I was going to make my attendance an annual thing!

Although the event is over, I still want to share my favorite aspects and why this artistic wonderland is worth the visit.

My Favorite Rooms of the 29Rooms LA 2019 Experience

Room 3;  “Sonic Sanctuary” in Collaboration with Aaron Taylor Kuffner

This room was a hidden gem tucked away in the basement of The Reef – it was almost too easy to miss!

As you walked down the stairs you enter the basement enclosed in darkness, only to be draped in red mood lighting. The first half of the spaced served as Room 4; “Sonic Shadow” where you can play with the illusion of shadows. But further down the basement featured the “Sonic Sanctuary.”

Filled with mirror-like gongs that lit up in correspondence, the room had amazing vibes that helped you kind of zone out to sonic art and find peace.

I appreciated the space the artist created and admired their usage! Upstairs, on the main floor, it was energetic, loud and vibrant, so it felt wonderful to slow down my pace and watch the glow of the gongs in the darkness of the basement.

Room 29; “Oh Say Can You See” in Collaboration with Lena Waithe

Okay, I seriously loved this room – which is why I’m a little sad that I didn’t take the time to capture it on film. For those of you who don’t know who Lena Waithe is. She is an American screenwriter, producer, and actress – you might recognize her from Master of None. First of her name, Waithe made history as the first black woman to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series and she also created the Showtime series, The Chi.

In the room, you enter through a dark hallway, which blacks out to a room with surrounding four giant screens. The sound of a music icon, Whitney Houston, sings the American National Anthem as clips of moments in African-American history play over the lyrics.

Visuals from the pain we suffered through the fight for our Civil Rights, the shootings from Ferguson with transitions into moments of hope like the election of the first black president, Barack Obama, and high school students finding out that they made it into college. A summary of what it has been like to be black in a country – set to a song that has sparked a lot of emotion.

This room was a creative way to display history – for those that identify as black and those that don’t. It would be beautiful to see more creative execution of storytelling like this and bring it into classes, into museums, and into malls. More people can benefit from learning the experiences of another through art!

Room 26-27; “You Are Magic” in Collaboration with The Hoodwitch

I’ve heard of The Hoodwitch on Instagram, and have seen some of her work before, but nothing could have prepared me for the beauty that was her room – the “You are Magic” room! This was probably the only room that I had to “wait in line for” and it was worth it. Hoodwitch herself even stopped by to take some photos, but of course, I was too chicken to ask for a photo. (Damn you shyness!)

You enter in this beautiful cave that is broken up into two sides, one featuring the dial of zodiac signs, while the other featured sacred geometry. The room was warm and smelled delicious! The entire room was made completely out of a paper mache or a similar material. It must have taken her forever to build it out!

Everything was lit up with sunset colored-mood lighting and it had the perfect set-up of decor. I honestly want one these in my future home because the vibes and energy were real!

Tips for any 29Rooms first timers  

Tickets & Pricing

Pricing to attend one the 29Rooms tour stop vary from year to year and also the location. My assumption is based on the venue and also who will be a part of the collaborations. This year’s tickets for 29Rooms LA cost $40 for the regular sessions and then $70 for the after night sessions. Tickets usually go on sale a month out from the event.

So which ticket should you buy?

Well if you are really interested in experiencing 29Rooms to the fullest, I would strongly advise that you go for the After Dark session.

For 29Rooms in 2017, I was gifted with just general tickets, and while I still had fun and enjoyed the exhibits … the lines were terribly long and I wasn’t able to see all of the rooms. That’s a bummer, right? Going to the After Dark session is the complete opposite experience though! You don’t feel rushed to take your photos, there basically aren’t any lines to the rooms, and oh there are is food and drinks.

Disclaimer: Alcohol is served during the night time event, you must be 21 and over to attend. To the kiddos, sorrrrry. To all my grown folks – yay no kids!

Do some social reconnaissance

I’m not huge on doin’ things for the gram – but I do appreciate a solid picture, especially in a ginormous space that is dedicated to being photographed. For those that are all about taking the perfect photo, my advice would be to do some homework on some top rooms that you want to visit, that way you know exactly where to go before the lines get long.

That means following 29Rooms, Refinery29, and Unbothered on social and checking out their IG Stories during the other tour stops or the week of your attendance date. Even visit the social profiles of influencer to see their top picks in rooms, lighting, and even poses.

Coordinate your fit

This is an add-on to my previous tip, scope out what rooms are on your priority list to take photos, and put together a fit that will work with it.

From my personal research, my eyes were on the beauty that was the Unbothered “Long Line of Queendome” room. I wanted to be dripped in gold to match, but instead, I thought I should shoot for white so it would be easier to not clash with the other rooms.

Put down the phone/camera

Now going the complete opposite way from our previous tips. I know this experience is all about capturing the best visuals, but also consider the intention of the artists too and be open to putting down the phone/camera to just be in the moment.

I took the time to read all of the informational cards or listened to any of the descriptions each 29Room staff member. It’s nice to take a step back and appreciate the work that someone has put into their art – and it’s even better understanding why they chose to create something too.

Other Favorite Rooms to Mention

Room 11; “Star Matter” in Collaboration with Nicole Richie

Room 2; “Inner Beauty Ball” in Collaboration with House of YES

Room 22; “Love Letter to the World” in Collaboration with Cocovan

Why I Love the 29Room Experience and will Continue to Attend

Every consumer – whether they know it or not, wants to feel like a brand/company’s values align with their own. That way you feel a little better about where your money is going to and want to support them – or at least that’s the way I think when I invest in a brand.

Every consumer – whether they know it or not, wants to feel like a brand/company’s values align with their own. That way you feel a little better about where your money is going to and want to support them – or at least that’s the way I think when I invest in a brand.

Personally, I find value in experiencing art in a way that is playful but also eye-opening! The multi-sensory installations give an experience that is different from a traditional museum visit and the “Instagram worthy” aesthetic is fun to capture and connect with creativity and community. The price may not always be easy to manage for everyone, but if you do get the opportunity, take it!

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