Travel Etiquette: The Dangers of Taking a Selfie on Vacation

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If youre taking a selfie while on vacation it pays to be careful, as one woman found out recently when she accidentally knocked over an entire row of pedestals displaying art at The 14th Factory in Los Angeles.

According to Hyperallergic, the incident occurred at an exhibition by Hong Kong-based artist Simon Birch two weeks ago, although Youtube footage of the incident that has been making the rounds on social media was only uploaded a few days ago. The installation that was damaged, Hypercaine, is a collaboration between Birch, Gabriel Chan, Jacob Blitzer and Gloria Yu, and consists of a grid of pedestals that each carry a crown-like object. Knocking over the pedestals damaged three sculptures permanently and others to varying degrees, at an approximate cost o $200,000, Yu told Hyperallergic.

Selfies, and the mobile devices that enable them, have had a complicated relationship with the travel industry. While an eye-popping Instagram account can help travel agents find new business, using smartphones on vacation can bring its own perils.


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For example, in a recent survey 42 percent of children said that they felt ignored by their parents on vacation in favor of a smartphone – not exactly a recipe for developing lasting family memories. In that same survey 40 percent of parents said they had no problem using social media on vacation, while 20 percent said they absolutely hate it.

In 2015, after several popular attractions like Romes Colosseum, the Palace of Versailles, the Smithsonian and Disney World rides banned selfie sticks, Travel Leaders polled travelers on the use of selfie sticks. 31.2 percent said that they would tell a security guard if they saw someone taking a photo in a selfie stick in a location that prohibited it, while 33.7 percent said that they wouldnt say anything. Only 0.5 percent of respondents said that they would violate a selfie stick ban, while the vast majority – 78.5 percent – responded, I dont own a selfie stick, so its not a problem.

According to The 14th Factorys official website, the space is a multiple-media, socially engaged art and documentary experience set in three acres of an empty industrial warehouse on the outskirts of downtown Los Angeles. The experience aims to transform the visitor into a central player in a collaboratively fabricated adventure, challenging the current political climate by celebrating creative diversity, unity and the act of overcoming obstacles and challenges as a global society.

There has been speculation whether this really happened or is a PR stunt, 14th Factory spokesperson Jocelyn Ingram told LAist. Now that it got online, we would rather direct the sudden attention away from the unfortunate event and to the art in The 14th Factory space and the artists behind them. Each sculpture that had fallen involves 20-30 hours of man labor – including the artists conception, 3D designers modeling, and metal welders and workers crafting and assembly. It would be pretty irrational for the artists behind these sculptures to intentionally inflict harm on their own work hoping to gain any benefit.

The 14th Factory is in LA through the end of the month.

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