Simple Travels: Wonderspaces San Diego

A trip to an extraordinary art exhibit always constitutes a solid adventure, so let me take you to one of the sickest pop-up museums in southern California that definitely tops my list of contemporary favorites. Wonderspaces in San Diego is a short-term display of unique installations, most of which I tried to capture to the best of my ability so if you don't get the opportunity to visit this captivating space, here's your chance to experience the pieces vicariously through my mediocrely composed iPhone snapshots! 
Pulse Portal
Photo Credit: Tina Nguyen

Upon entering the site, you're greeted by a futuristic prismatic "portal" that resembles a dragonfly's wings. I'd say it's the perfect entry way to the museum as it sets you up for all the interactive, psychedelic pieces that you're about to encounter.

Neon Tunnel

To access the rest of the installations, you're directed to this neon tunnel plastered with systematically placed neon strips. It's undoubtedly more impressive when viewed from a distance ‑ otherwise, it's really just a bunch of glow-in-the-dark tapes.

Daydream V2
This work was one of my absolute favorites and I'm glad my friend Tina got to capture some pretty neat shots of my silhouettes against this immersive audiovisual piece. Looking at the screen up close and straight ahead was a trippy experience, to say the least. "Daydream" is quite an understatement because it really felt more like being hypnotized and transported to a different universe. If you're familiar with the show Black Mirror (10/10, would recommend), this room provides a similar trance-inducing atmosphere that makes you feel all sorts of sensations.


Perhaps the most interactive piece other than the virtual reality films is ADA, an "analog installation" that creates its own art on the walls as it floats and bounces around the room. It may be fun to toss around like a beach ball but the concept behind it is far more fascinating. Artist Karina Smigla-Bobinski drew inspiration from Ada Lovelace, a computer science pioneer, to create this exceptionally engaging "artwork with a soul" that merges technical and creative elements of art. It's a thoughtfully executed piece that plays on the concept of artificial intelligence, which I think is perfectly suited for this technology-driven, post-industrial society. To read more about Smigla-Bobinski's work, click here.

 Sweet Spot

I'm sure it's not surprising that I spent the most time in this particular installation. As a social media influencer, I had to do it for the 'gram at some point and this was an ideal backdrop for a quick outfit-of-the-day. It reminds me of LACMA's Penetrable installation (the beloved yellow spaghetti), only much more delicate, vibrant, and harmonious.    

You + Your Shadows

This rainbow room is another popular one among the millennial Instagrammers because of the oscillating four-dimensional shadows of varying saturated colors. This photo surely doesn't do it justice, but you get the gist. It's significantly more dynamic than Sweet Spot and sets a much deeper mood despite the pulsing representation of light and color in motion. 

The Last Word

The Last Word is a poignant installation that allows you to express your vulnerabilities to strangers by writing your own unfinished business. According to the description of the artwork, it intends to offer a "private moment to recapture what was never uttered," which I think is such a moving idea that addresses what humanity truly needs in this day and age ‑ the freedom to be vulnerable. I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't get to draft my own message or even uncover others' secrets, but if I ever get another chance to come back, I'll be sure to write something to my heart's content.

On Tilt

This one's a fun outdoor area filled with colorful inflatable figures dancing to the rhythm of the wind. I couldn't find any information on the concept behind this installation, so enjoy and interpret it as you will.

There were a few more that I didn't get to capture on camera because they were better off encountered in person. A Religious Experience was certainly one of those pieces that no amount of photo-capturing or editing can ever do justice. It was essentially a pitch black room with ethereal galaxy-inspired surroundings, providing a space for you to step back and take it all in. Maybe it's just my fascination with immersive pieces that resemble the cosmos in pure darkness, but I assure you it's something that makes you feel and think about everything or nothing. 

This pop-up museum is a bit pricey considering that it's such a small space, but if you're a dedicated enthusiast of the arts and an advocate for mental health, then expect to be in for some wonderful soul-searching and life-contemplating experiences. Capturing photos of these installations may beautify your Instagram feed, but remember that aesthetic appeal is only one dimension of art. You'll only truly see its worth if you look into the mind of the artists and decipher the substance behind their pieces. With that said, plan a day trip to sunny San Diego and book your tickets until Wonderspaces bids farewell after August 27th!

'Til next time.



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