I went to the interactive instagram pop-up DREAM MACHINE located in Williamsburg Brooklyn, NY for a hefty admission fee of $38 (plus tax). Today I’m sharing my experience and conclusion on whether it’s worth visiting or not.
What exactly is DREAM MACHINE?
DREAM MACHINE is an interactive pop-up experience that combines a tactile quality to several instagrammable rooms. The pop-up installation is running from April 5th through May 31st. There is an admission fee of $38 per person (with tax it’s around $41) and you have to order them online in-advance choosing a specific date and time. The time slots run in 30 minute intervals.
I actually went on April 8, 2018 so this post is wayyyyyy overdue. When I bought tickets, 5:00 PM was the last slot, so I figured that it would be the best time to go. Little did I know, the time slot does not matter because you’re essentially timed in the exhibit anyway.
Some quick notes about entry: there is a complimentary coat check (win!). The time slots designate the group you’re in and you’re led by a tour guide, basically an individual who checks that you’re flowing into the next room appropriately. Unfortunately you can’t just walk to whichever room you want, it’s all guided (groups follow each other on a timed basis). This also means you can’t stay in a room for as long as you like either.
Let’s check out the rooms:
DREAM MACHINE: Room #1
The first room is cloud 9. Large cloud art installations hang from the ceiling in a brightly lit room. This room has so much potential, from a silly head in the clouds shot to a dreamy portrait. I must say it’s pretty hard to get good cloud shots here if you’re in a large group. Luckily my group migrated to the next room so I had some extra time to snap some solo cloud shots!
DREAM MACHINE: Room #2
The next room is the bubble smoke room. A bubble machine projects from the top of the room and blows regular bubbles, along with bubbles filled with smoke! They also serve three different flavors of seltzer water as a cool refreshment. This room is really cute for boomerangs! Just be careful not to slip cause the floor is very slippery. Again, I lucked out with having my group migrate onward so I was able to get some empty room shots.
DREAM MACHINE: Room #3
The black and white room! This is relatively small room that has 2 photo ops. One is with the poster like frames on the wall and the other is in the chair! There is also a shelf with black and white items and accessories, but I don’t think it was that gram-able (in my opinion). I think my mistake was spending too much time in this little room before making it out into the next room.
DREAM MACHINE: Room #4
This room is my favorite! It has the ultimate retro 1980s vibes with the laundromat backdrop! I didn’t get a chance to get a shot in front of the neon sign, but that is definitely another instagram worthy shot! In this room, they serve you a sweet treat: cotton candy. There’s also a surprise to a secret room behind the washing machines.
DREAM MACHINE: Room #5 (secret)
The infinity room! I’ve been dying to go to this installation that is based in LA, so I was sooooo happy to find out that DREAM MACHINE had one of their own. Visitor beware, you should have your camera settings on lock because this room is timed. I struggled to figure out the right settings for my camera, so I do regret not taking photos on just my phone.
DREAM MACHINE: Room #6
The infamous ball pit pool room! This room is also timed too, so try to get your shots in ASAP. The pit usually allows several individuals in at one time so be sure to get the epic boomerang dive and the drowning shots in. There are cubby holes on the side where you have to leave your shoes and belongings. It’s strongly advised to not bring anything extra like jewelry, your phone, or keys because it will be disastrous trying to find it in this pit. By the way, you’re in for a massive workout because maneuvering your way through this ball pit is definitely not easy, or graceful.
DREAM MACHINE: Room #7
The Hotline Bling hallway! Tell me not… HAHA. Okay this room is literally the most intense one out of everything at DREAM MACHINE because the time allotment is INSANE. Can you guess? It’s… 45 SECONDS! I was with a friend and the guy manning the spot helped us out with a boomerang but failed to mention that it was 45 seconds total for the BOTH of us! What the heck?! So the last 15 seconds we literally scrambled like maniacs trying to snap photos of each other in the hallway. My heart was racing. ANXIETY LEVELS HIGH. Beware.
DREAM MACHINE: Room #8
This room is relatively small. It’s a passage way with fake plants everywhere and trippy lights. It reminded me of wandering into the garden of Alice in Wonderland, but in a dark twisted version HAHA. I was half expecting the Cheshire cat to float out or the Caterpillar to blow smoke in my face.
DREAM MACHINE: Room #9
This is the last room of the pop-up. To be honest, my friend Jenny and I thought this room was just a small wall of stringy reflecting pieces. So we obnoxiously shot at the entrance for 5-10 minutes before realizing that this was like an endless sea of reflecting ribbons. Don’t be afraid to wander in because you’ll get super nice shots here.
IT WAS ALL A DREAM, MY FRIENDS
So overall, I think that the DREAM MACHINE was a great installation with lots of instagram worthy photo opps. Some spots were definitely short on time, so that part sucked, but I do think that it’s worth visiting for sure. Though my shots didn’t come out nearly as dreamy as Brandon Woelfel’s, I’d say they were still pretty darn good. If I can stress some main tips or words of advice for you, they would be:
- Bring a friend. If you decide to go with a group, I’d suggest that you have an even number so you can take shots of each other in a fair amount of time.
- Pick one camera and/or one phone to use. Designate one each so you spend less time fumbling with different devices and more time taking photos. In this day in age, you can send photos instantaneously so why waste precious time on that camera is better than that one? Or I want my own shots on my own device?
- Map out your content ideas. Use my breakdown above to your advantage so you can plan out what you’d like to do in each room, especially for the strict timed ones. Time is not your friend in this installation LOL.
I definitely think it’s worth it, as long as you get all the photos your heart desires. If you do that, you’ll really get the bang for your buck. If you are planning on going, hurry because the last day is May 31st!
Have you visited the DREAM MACHINE? Or plan on going?