I enjoy quirky, and I enjoy silly. Living in Korea, I've had countless opportunities to embrace both of these, but I've found the grandest display of ridiculous to definitely be in the form of the "trick" art museums. I've visited two different ones, and I must say -- if you enjoy acting like a kid and posing for outrageous photos, then this is a place for you.
I initially visited one of these museums a couple winters ago, as it's entirely indoors and a good reprieve from the chilly outdoors. Lockers are available, so once you're inside and you've got a ticket in hand, you can stash any bags and coats you don't feel like carrying around. However! Make sure to keep your camera or phone with you -- you'll be needing it.
Basically, the idea behind these museums is to experience pieces of art in a new, interactive way by using techniques that give the appearance of you actually being in the painting. From forced perspectives to optical illusions, these 2D pieces will magically look 3D in the photos you take. It's pretty silly, but still tons of fun.
Each piece is carefully designed to photograph in a particular way, so as you walk through the museum from one spot to another, pay attention to the directions on the floor. These signs will tell you how to pose for the picture and also where to stand to take the picture at the intended angle. In my experience, they seem to be very accurate. If nothing else, they give you a good idea of the best general area to stand in, then you can modify it as you see fit.
These museums are all over Korea (and Asia, actually) -- you can find them Seoul, Busan, Jeju, Paju -- just to name a few. The first one I went to is the Trickeye Museum in Seoul's Hongdae neighborhood, and then, more recently, I went to one of the two Seoul locations of the Alive Museum in Insadong. Personally, I was more impressed with the Trickeye Museum, because it seemed to have a more interesting variety of paintings and pieces to interact with, and the illusions were better overall. That being said, my friend and I still had an excellent time in the Alive Museum, so I think you'll have a good time no matter what you do.
Information for Visiting:
Trickeye Museum, locations in: Seoul, Busan, and Jeju.
Alive Museum, locations in: Seoul, Jeju, Paju, Yeosu, and Daecheon.
Tips for visiting: some photos are best with two people, so visiting the museum in a small group would be ideal. Employees are sometimes on hand, though, to help take photos.
Even moving at a quicker pace, budget at least an hour for this museum. If you're determined to take photos with each piece, plan for two hours!
Definitely keep these museums in mind for the coming winter months in Korea -- they make a great detour while sightseeing or shopping, and it's a good excuse to duck out of the cold for a couple of hours!
Between studying Japanese and Asian culture in university and setting her sights on a teaching career, it came as no surprise when Zannah Smreker announced that she was moving to South Korea to teach for Chungdahm Learning. In November 2011, Zannah accepted a position through Aclipse with the Songdo branch in Incheon, just southwest of Seoul. When she's not teaching, she keeps herself busy with exploring Korea, eating all the street food, and hunting down strange Engrish shirts. Check out her blog and her Instagram for more of her adventures!