Gone are the days when a simple trip to a bar, a bottle of beer and a good conversation made for a great night out. Nowadays, our evenings are centered around social media check-ins and documented by a number of selfies. Like moths to a flame, many tech-savvy millennials swarm to spaces, destinations and landscapes that fit perfectly into the equilateral square of the instagram frame.
Renowned stage designer and artist, Es Devlin, who has worked with everyone from Beyonce to Kayne West, has noted that many of her designs rely heavily on the consideration that they will be photographed, filtered and published on Instagram. Nowadays, it seems that we are designing the spaces around us, for the purpose of our online reality.
This is both a social and technological phenomenon, and proves that the screens of our smartphones may be the lens through which we view and choose what to do in our reality. But is this necessarily a bad thing? Shouldn’t we embrace art that encompasses and harnesses how we live in modern society? Or should we turn our back on the naivety and self-centred approval hunting that comes with the thrills of social media? Should we in fact be searching for something more from our nights out? Or is everything we see, in reality, just another photo opportunity?
Real-life experiences are often seen as more important than online statuses. And so, many people are looking for something special from their night out and more than just a pretty picture. Board game cafes, bowling alleys and bingo halls are popping up across the United States. Opting to take part in an activity or experience on your night out is rapidly becoming an attractive antidote to the scrolling screens of our social media pages.
Across North Hollywood, there are a number of alternative options for your night out. Vintage bowling, open-air cinemas and speak-easy cocktail bars, bring customers back in time to before the ‘gram’ and produce a serious sense of nostalgia. But why are the millennial generation seeking such experiences?
Firstly, it's believed that millennials are the ‘wanderlust generation’. They avidly dream of past generations’ freedom from the judgement and global conscience. From our smartphones, we can view everything in the world, both past and present. This content overload may cause resentment for those who have or had it better.
Secondly, trips to the theater or amusement arcade are live experiences, which it’s said, most young people would rather use their cash on. With the options of owning a house under the age of 40 years old seeming unlikely for many millennials, most would rather spend their money on experiences which offer instant gratification.
A night at the bingo is often associated with the elderly. But, it is not a game of the past. Many contemporary club nights, bars and festivals now host this age-old Sunday night tradition. New forms of bingo have emerged, with dancing, music and booze often in the mix. Online socialising and gaming arguably has the ability to connect users from across the globe, at any time of day. Likewise, with more variety of games to choose from, there is something for everyone. Online sites like Oddschecker allow players to compare bonuses and offers from leading bingo sites. With so much on offer online, the leisure industry is going to extra lengths to get us to go out, rather than stay in. Festivals are expanding and shopping malls are featuring art installations, in order to compete with the online market. Adding more and more experience, aims to get us to look up from our phones.
But can we ever distance reality from our lives online? Live events are all marketed through social media. Images and visuals allow us to recall similar feelings we may have had at a similar event, before making that all-important decision on how to spend our Saturday night. Reviewing apps and image searching allow us make this decision. No matter how much will be experienced once we’re there, it’s probably already been published on someone else’s Instagram. And the effect of this, ultimately takes the ‘retro’ out of ‘retro night out’.