Note: This post is part of my “Museums Project“, a collection of 200+ high-concept ideas for museums.
Well, there’s the obvious implementation of this idea: it’s a museum where there’s a bunch of loose snakes crawling around. Duh. But how many snakes? Is it just a few snakes that you might get lucky to see or is the entire floor covered in snakes a la Indiana Jones? And where do we get all these snakes? How many of them should be poisonous?
But, despite the name, loose snakes is not the purpose of this museum. That’s just one implementation of a more general idea. Truth be told, making a museum filled with loose, possibly poisoness snakes into a success is probably trickier to pull off than it sounds.
The more general idea is this: seeing art while you’re scared. What would that experience be like?
Obviously somewhat distracting. But perhaps there are times when you are assured there is no danger and then other times that the museum announces it is going to release the snakes for a while.
It’s been shown that anxiety and excitement really are the same sensations in the body and that it’s just a matter of how you interpret those sensations.
Could loose snakes be a good way to get people more excited about art? That’s the question.
Again, “loose snakes” is just an example. It could be some kind of haunted house monster or one of the less angry types of bears. It doesn’t matter. The idea is that you get people feeling excited.
To lean more into the snakes, what if the art were literally in a haunted house? So that instead a of a museum with some scary parts, it’s a scary place with some museum parts?
Perhaps the art is positioned precariously and while you are looking at it, you are also thinking, “holy sh*t, this thing looks like it is going to fall on me”. Or you think (excitedly) “Mixed media that mixes live flame and walls coverd in paper mache’!”
If you like the idea of loose snakes but can’t find any for your museum, here’s some other options that might be an ok substitute: rats, cockroaches, bees, possums, etc.