Johan Dehlin


Jason Allen 25/01/22


Fan of ASMR?

Some people find it rather earie.

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

The concept of ASMR – 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 expands 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.

The thought of which often gives people the shivers.


NOTE: WEIRD SENSATION FEELS GOOD: The World of ASMR runs at The Design Museum until 10th April 2023. 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