Planet Word

Reading this week:

  • House of Glass by Pramoedya Ananta Toer

The other week my super amazing girlfriend’s absolute best friend in the whole wide world was visiting us, and so we went to Planet Word! Planet Word was certainly an interesting take on a museum, and it was interesting to see a different way of presenting information to people.

First, despite the name, Planet Word is not a whole planet, but in fact only comprises part of a school building. You turn the corner into a courtyard where you discover a tree-looking thing. Hanging from the tree are a bunch of speakers. They are motion-activated, so as you stand under the speakers you hear different recordings and tracks and I suppose that really gets you into the mood.

Instead of discreet displays like at uh, a traditional museum, Planet Word is comprised of a series of rooms that explore a wide range of different aspects and uses of language. At the top is a picture of a room about jokes and wordplay. In one bit of the room you pose with pictures of different idioms and then other people have to guess what the idiom is all about. What’s in the picture is a station where you and your partner tell jokes to each other. The screens give you different jokes to tell and it is a game where you score a point if you make the other person laugh. As you can see, the jokes are of the utmost quality so it is a very competitive game. What made me laugh every single time is not how funny the jokes were, but I started laughing because every time my super amazing girlfriend told a joke she would be very proud of herself and laugh at it herself, and it was extremely cute, because she is super amazing.

For me though I think the part I had the most fun in was a section on advertising. There were some displays around the edges of the room, but the center of the room was comprised of a spiraling set of screens that taught you about different aspects of advertising copywriting, like wordplay and double entendre. Once you reached the center of the spiral, and had thus achieved master of the advertising artform, it invited you to make an ad of your own around a couple different potential themes.

Haha butt!

I immediately tried to see what bad words it would let you put on an ad copy. I didn’t try way too hard, because I was afraid of getting us kicked out or revealing too much of the world to the little kids running around, but still I found it extremely entertaining. Right above you can see the masterpiece I finally contributed the world of Planet Word. Once your ad goes up it slowly moves along the spiral for all your museum compatriots to see. For you, my loyal readers who might want to go to Planet Word someday, it does have a word filter, but for some words it is more aggressive than others. It wouldn’t let me type “Poop,” for example, but it would let you put in very simple variations, like “Poopv.” It also of course blocked words like “Fuck,” and wasn’t tricked by the same simple variation like “Fuckv.” Art arises from limitations, and since I had also learned something about subtlety or something (I think) from the spiraly course on copywriting, I decided that a simple “BUTT” would suffice to convey my message to the world.

One of the other big sections of Planet Word was a stylized library. This library had a small selection of books, but the neat part was that if you took a book and put it on the table, as my super amazing girlfriend is aptly demonstrating above, it started projecting on it and became all interactive and stuff and that was pretty neat. They even had my childhood favorite book, The Way Things Work, and so that was very nice to see again. Around the room too they had these displays where if you said a quote, it displayed a model scene from that book. They had scenes from The Little Prince and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, among others.

They had a number of different rooms besides those, but I won’t spoil all of them. You know I don’t know if I learned anything in particular from this museum, but it is nice to go to a place that tries a new way of being a museum and a new way of presenting information. It was fun and interactive and a nice way to spend an hour or two. I only wish I had written down some more of the jokes from the game so I could deploy them again later. At parties or something, you know?