Friday, June 20, 2014

The EMP Museum

After the Chihuly museum I walked around the Seatle Center a bit.  I wandered over to The Armory, since a food court supposedly lurked inside and I nigh on starving.

There was actually an interesting collection of food options inside, and it did not take long for me to settle in with a burger with bacon jam and blue cheese and a side of dark chocolate pudding, a fresh Kindle book propped up in front of me.

Once satiated, I headed for the EMP museum.

The EMP museum began as a museum of music artifacts.  They've expanded their collection to include sections on Fatasy, Horror, and Science-Fiction, changing their focus tobecome a museum of  pop culture.  Or, as I thought of it as I looked at the collection and the people who were admiring it the most, a museum of Geekitude.

The exterior of the building is meant to evoke a smashed guitar.  You can see the tracks for the famed monorail running alongside this entrance:

I got my ticket (which, once again, seemed to cost abourt $10 too much) and headed into the Fantasy section.

It started off promisingly with an introduction the archetypal characters of these tyes of stories.  

(and a dragon.  There was also a dragon)

They used the archtypes to describe the artifacts, primarily movie props and costumes.  There were a few manuscripts and author notes:

but despite the inclusion of one of my favorite authors (as you can see above), the selection was meager and the presentation careless.  It was fun to see pieces lke these:

But I would have liked to see a more in-depth explanation of the genre.  As it was, the exhibit felt like they just bought whatever pieces they could and slapped together some splashy interactive pieces and "sets" to try to make up for the lack of substance.  It reminded me of the Smithsonian solution - who needs content when you have moulded trees, sound effects, and touch screens?

The Sci-Fi collection left me similarly unimpressed, although I passed many a fan gaping at the artifacts of their favorite shows.

There was a Dalek:

but hardly any attention was called.  If I was in charge, I would embrace the idea of a museum of fandom and beef up the collections and the displays for the shows with the most passionate followings.  Explore the mythologis of the modern era with artifacts of the productions and more information on the developmen and the influence,  That would be worth seeing.  When the gift shop does a better job of marketing to the audeince than the actual collecion, there's a problem (The shop had a full rack of "Firefly" t-shirts but there was nary a mention of Joss Whedon or his work in the exhibit itself.  Not cool, guys.)

I only briefly popped into the Horror section, but I knew that since my exposure to horror films lies almost exclusively in Edgar Wright's work, the displays would be lost on me.  I did lke the wallpaper for the stairwell, though:

After a quick tour of the Lego buildings,

I headed for the music section.  This was better, particularly the Music Video retrospective, albeit with a strong local bias.  They had an entire wing dedicated to Nirvana and Macklemore got a flashy booth to themselves, but despite featuring most of his works in various parts of the Music Video exhibit, they never pointed out that all of these pieces were by Michel Gondry.  Had he been from Seattle, I'm sure they would have highlighted the artist and not just the work.

See if you recognize any of his pieces from these exhiits:

I used to teach a unit on music videos at DPJH, and I was glad to see my conent choices validatd bytheir inclusion  in this exhibit.   It was strange, however, to see the contemporary section filled with videos I know from YouTube. 

Official videos at this point in the collection actually took a back seat to fan-made videos.  They included lipdubs, dance tributes (l"Single Ladies"), vidding, and videos like these:

I played around a little with the equipment in the Sound Lab, a section with a variety of rock instruments and equipment and instructional videos to walk you  through using them; then headed back towards the lobby.  There is a large space there with a screen for "experiencing"  iconic music performances.

When I first crossed though, there was about a dozen people watching a Nirvana performance.  On my way out, a cowd of at least fifty were gathered, glued to the screen.

I guessed what the video was before I could see the screen myself.  I only know of one music video that still makes people stop in their tracks and start twitching along:

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