Lille, Smile Safari is the new temple of Instagrammers and TikTokeurs

We’ve entered the “most instagramous museum in Europe” in the Urals. Report bet? Trying to help young people understand their image and relationship with social networks. Huge work.

A unique place in France, as wonderful as it is confusing. Smile Safari is not really a museum or a photo studio. A hybrid concept, perhaps. Its creator, Hannes Kudenis, The head of a communications agency, a Belgian, presents him as “Europe’s Most Instagram Museum”. We went for a walk there.

Extremely colorful universe, Smile Safari offers about fifty pop decorations in front of which we do a pose. “We are looking for the perfect picture”, Nicholas said the 28-year-old, who brought his wife Ornela and his smartphone, is an essential item here. Because often, the photos taken end up on social networks: Instagram, Tic Tac Toe or Snapchat.

“Here, visitors are works of art”, The director of the company, who moved to 1,000 m² on the first floor of the Uralil shopping center near Lille train station on October 30, 2021, said. An idea born in Brussels, in 2019, in the mind of the same Hannes Kudenis, who even planned to open another “museum” in Paris. “In the future.”

“Oh look at the face I’m making …” In front of the wall covered with yellow smileys, Eva does not seem to have won by her posture. Her friend Louis is taking the picture again. One, two, three times. Several times. She laughs: “It’s ridiculous.” Her friend Clara reassures her: “But no.” The small group roamed the 1,000 m² of Smile Safari, shooting continuously and seemed to be having a good time.

Like Eva, Clara and Louis, this “museum” has attracted nearly a thousand visitors since its opening a week ago (for 20 euros). But where does this success come from?

When we asked the young people and family members present this Saturday afternoon, we answered that the place “Unusual”, “Super Colorful”That we took pictures “Original”What is it? “Funny” And that we “Have fun”. For some it’s a simple trip with friends, for others it’s a competition of likes and fame on social networks. And sometimes – often – it’s a bit of both.

Instagram, Tick ​​tock, And Social networks have become an essential tool in our society. The creator of Smile Safari understood that very well And Surf on these social events.

Hallows sits on the bonnet of a bright, glamorous pink Cadillac in an American-style wrap clip setting. She looks at the lens, changes her profile, then leaves her turn to the other girls. “Yeah, I want my pictures please” The 22-year-old student admitted that he planned to publish his pictures on Instagram.

In her group of friends, they are not what we call influential, and yet they are connected to the reactions (likes, comments) created by the people who follow them on social networks. “It’s very fruitful and nice to hear comments from people I know”, Caroline, a 23-year-old medical student, slipped.

Behind all these smiles displayed on Smile Safari, there is this search for the ideal picture. This search for self-esteem.

Eva, 20, carefully prepared. Next to a donut and unicorn vending machine, he adjusts his posture. “We want to show a good image of ourselves, He says. I don’t see myself showing my face when I wake up, for example … “

A resident of Lille, an exchange student in Japan for the rest of the year, spoke candidly about the impact of Instagram. On her, on her body, on her well-being, on her confidence. “In my case, I had an injection in my mouth that looked like this feminine norm that we were shown, and that I had never seen before, He says. I wanted to change to feel better. “

“The big flaw of these social networks is that it can cause frustration among some people who are not recognized, Clara slips in, her friend. If we don’t like our photos, we wonder why. “

Often, the question of self-esteem comes up in the face of young people, frequent users of social networks. “We expect something from others, Eva said. Because thanks to others, we can have confidence in ourselves.

On the way out of Smile Safari, we meet a mother and her daughter. Two generations, two different perspectives on social networks. “I see the time he spends there, Karin explains, Mom. I tell her it’s a waste of time, a time you don’t feel with your friends. ” Nurjahan, a 14-year-old college student, disagrees. She “Entertainment” On Instagram.

However, like all the people interviewed that day in this new kind of “museum”, they both had a good time.

Smile Safari will be open until June 2022, if the public is there, before it becomes permanent.

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