Samsung 837 in the Meatpacking District is not a store. It's a marketing project, an event space, and a cafe designed engage curious visitors like me to try out new the brand's latest products and technologies. I joined their Maker's Spotlight one evening to hear one of my favorite NYC-based photographers, Tyson Wheatley, interview Alice Gao and Sam Heroine about mobile photography, their experience demoing the Galaxy S7 phone, and what life is like as Instagram influencers. If there was one takeaway from their panel, it was the reminder that I can never take enough photos (and pull enough inspiration from) this dynamic city we are lucky to call home.
After the talk, I was most interested to visit the Social Galaxy, an art installation put together by a creative group from Brooklyn called Black Egg. After slipping on black booties over my shoes and entering my Instagram handle into a phone, I entered a dark room. It's a half mirrored rectangular box with various size of Samsung devices - tablets, phones and monitors - hung in the other half of the room. They display the Instagram feed of whatever account you typed in the phone, creating an immersive visual and audible way to experience social media. You're confronted with your social self, in flashing captions and photos, as you hear your frequently used hashtags read aloud. The feeds of those before and after you slowly blend together with your own, representing the continuum of digital time and space.
Maybe it's because I had recently listened to a podcast about a man with a (seemingly) limitless memory, but I left wishing I had a VR headset at home that would allow me to re-live some of my favorite memories, like sunbathing on beaches in Thailand, snorkeling with tropical fish in Mexico, and viewing wildlife on safari in Tanzania. My experience at Samsung 837 made me realize that maybe that won't be such a foreign concept for much longer.