Johan Dehlin




Fan of ASMR?

Some people find it rather earie.

And the Design Museum is putting on a show dedicated to exploring its strange digital intimacy this summer. It’s called WEIRD SENSATION FEELS GOOD: The World of ASMR.

The idea – for anyone who hasn’t had their brain gently tingled by it – is to listen to a specially created soundtrack that triggers a feeling of intense frisson, with the listener experiencing an actual physical reaction of goosebumps down their spine, that’s both exhilarating and relaxing at the same time. The sounds can be anything from whispering, to haircutting, to to the clicking of nails on the microphone. Sometimes it’s chewing. Sometimes it’s just breathing. Generally though, they’re otherwise personal sounds, highly amplified.

To the outsider, it can seem a bit weird. Particularly the chewing ones. But it’s a rapidly growing trend both in popular culture and in the scientific community, where its physical effects are now being explored as alternative remedies for anxiety and insomnia.

The Design Museum’s show takes its cues from a Sweden’s ArkDes (the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design), who put on the world’s first ASMR show back in the lockdown. It got some great reviews, and probably created a few converts too. This new exhibition will expand on that one, and has roped in literally dozens of contributors, including professionals like MissASMR or Haircut Harry; bleeding-edge tech from the likes of 3Dio Sound; archival support from places like the V&A or BBC Radio 4; and slightly more offbeat offerings from the likes of The Slow Mo Guys, Bob Ross, Björk, and… Ikea? And we’d love to say that it’ll therefore be better…

…but we don’t want to start a whispering campaign.


NOTE: WEIRD SENSATION FEELS GOOD: The World of ASMR will run at The Design Museum from May 13th to October 16th 2022 . Tickets cost £9.50+, and you can book right HERE.

The Design Museum | 224-238 Kensington High Street, W8 6AG

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224-238 Kensington High Street, Kensington, W8 6AG
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