▲ Outside Play K-Pop museum in Jungmun. Photo Courtesy Play K-Pop.
Play K-Pop opened last year as a way to give Jeju’s many tourists the opportunity to meet with some of Korea’s biggest stars.
It does this not only through information and displays about K-pop and its stars, but also through the use of cutting edge technology to provide an impressive interactive experience.
Visiting the museum with a friend from home and not really sure what to expect, we entered the museum.
After paying you are handed a card with a barcode on it and told to scan it at the many exhibitions in the museum. This serves as a way to record all the interactive elements in the museum.
The first exhibition is titled K-Pop History. Instantly we were impressed by how well curated the museum was.
Walking through the Time Tunnel we were able to listen to songs from throughout the history of Korean music. The other displays in this section were equally well designed and showed a wide variety of old records and pictures of stars etc.
▲ The Time Tunnel allows you to listen to songs from throughout the history of K-pop. Photo Courtesy Play K-Pop.
The first taste of the interactive element was in the dance history section. After scanning the card and getting our pictures taken, our faces were magically, hilariously and at points terrifyingly, transported onto the moving bodies of the hologram K-pop stars.
The next floor was the Meet the Star Section. This was where things really started to get interesting and the innovative use of new technologies to create an immersive interactive experience really started to come into its own.
Of these exhibits, the star photo booth allows you to choose your favourite star and take an incredibly realistic photo with them. This photo is then used even more impressively later on when random screens throughout the museum showed our pictures with PSY on the front cover of a magazine.
The fun on this floor continued with various other augmented reality exhibitions and tons of funny photo opportunities. The best of which was the Star Magic Bench. Here you sit on a sofa and watch on a screen as magically one of a selection of K-pop stars comes and sits next to you, providing a variety of highly realistic photo opportunities.
▲ The Star Magic Bench allows K-pop fans a photo opportunity with their favorite stars. Photo Courtesy Play K-Pop.
After this we had a slight break from the K-pop and went to the 3D cinema where you watch a short cartoon in 3D. While this will be familiar to anyone who has been to the cinema over the last few years, Play K-Pop takes it one step further as the screen you watch the cartoon on stretches all the way around the room giving you a complete 360-degree experience.
The next exhibition is named Be The Star and allows the visitor to spend the next 30 minutes of their life living out their K-pop star fantasies.
As you enter the exhibition you step onto the red carpet zone where you are greeted with a shower of camera flashes. This is followed by an exhibition of iconic K-pop star outfits which visitors actually get the chance to try on in the next room. In a twist, however, the trying on is all electronic and done through augmented reality screens.
Next up, you can get the full star experience through a virtual reality headset. This is one technology that I’ve never not seen someone be impressed by and if you haven’t had a chance to use virtual reality before it’s worth the entrance price alone.
You then get the chance to put your performance abilities to the test in the star recording studio and the dancing room. Again they both use augmented reality to make it seem like you really are singing and dancing with real K-pop stars. Although my singing and dancing ability meant this was one occasion where I was happy that it was augmented reality and not actual reality.
▲ The red carpet leading into the Be The Star section. Photo Courtesy Play K-Pop.
The museum culminates in the most popular exhibition, the live hologram show. I remember this technology being unveiled in 2012 when Tupac was brought back to life at Coachella (at great cost) and it seems amazing that only a few years later the same technology is available numerous times a day just a few miles from my apartment.
The hologram is genuinely impressive and very realistic. As with the rest of the museum, there is also an interactive element. When you enter the theatre you get your picture taken which is then shown throughout the room. One lucky audience member even gets to go on stage with the band.
As well as the usual singing and dancing you would expect at a music show, the fact it’s a hologram means they can add a lot of special effects to the performance such as the stars disappearing in smoke.
More than an opportunity to see your favourite K-pop stars, Play K-Pop is an excellent interactive experience showcasing some of the highest level entertainment technology.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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