The Bleak Reality of the Instagram Experience—The Walrus

Pop-up attractions like the Happy Place are built for selfies, but does anybody actually enjoy going to them?

The first thing that I saw when entering the Happy Place was a scene worthy of a dystopian children’s cartoon. One wall in the opening room featured a row of gumball machines (though none were actually operational), and at the far side of the space, there was an attendant whose job it was to hand out single M&M’s with happy faces stamped on them. Dozens of people milled about, and most had their attention directed toward the centrepiece: a pair of gumball–yellow stilettos, each about the size of a bus shelter. Visitors took turns sitting in the toe, hunching down with their hands gripping the sides as though they were getting ready to drive the shoe like a car. Each stared directly into a camera.


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