There are some very valuable pieces here, but none is insured for millions of euros nor is there a famous artist signing them in a corner. Despite that, people never stop taking photos of this collection, almost compulsively. In fact, it is not advisable to visit the new Museo de la Imaginación (Museum of the Imagination) in Malaga unless you have a mobile phone or camera with you, because you will definitely want to take some stunning images away with you: it is a fundamental part of a tour of this museum which, in just over four months, has already been visited by over 5,000 people.
"We are in the Soho district, near the historical city centre, but we're not in the main street, so the number of visitors has been amazing. We were expecting most of them to be tourists, but in fact a lot of them live here," says Mariya Grynchak, the communications manager for this initiative, which has added another element to the already remarkable collection of museums in Malaga city.
Look, hear and touch: those are the elements which make this Museo de la Imaginación different. It is a mixture of science and illusionism which is both educational and entertaining. The items are displayed in four rooms totalling 450 square metres in size. The first room is based on science, with a collection of pieces and toys which challenge reason and visual perception with the application of the law of physics. For example the Euler disc and the way it accelerates, when in theory it should lose energy as it spins; the magnetic induction gyroscopes which suspend themselves in the air; the dual images, so that something is either a dog or cat depending which way you look at it; and the anamorphic illusions which cheat our brains so we see something in 3D when it is actually drawn on a flat surface.
The star of the scientific room is the Cube of Mirrors which only has room for a person's head. "Firstly, it is an unusual experience to isolate yourself from exterior sound and then be able to see every part of yourself from perspectives you would never have imagined. In fact, some people are shocked because they discover they are going bald," jokes Mariya, who leads us into the second room, the room of shadows, a small space in which you can use the torch of a mobile phone to draw with light upon the wall.
Like a superhero
It is pretty difficult to put your mobile phone down in the Museum of the Imagination, and of course you may want to ring someone to describe what you are looking at, but most people just want to immortalise what seems to be the impossible. Like the little girl who poses for her mother as she takes a dragon for a walk for example; the lad who wrinkles his brow as he prepares to fight a bull, the man who can't stop laughing as he steal's the 'treasure' from Golum' himself, or the mother who smiles for her daughter's camera as she has a swordfight with Darth Vader. "This is the Instagram room, because everyone takes such spectacular photos here that they can't wait to post them on social media," says Mariya, adding that one of the most popular photos is of the sofa where you can sit comfortably with the top half of your body on one side and the bottom half on the other.
"We saw a museum like this while travelling in Europe and loved it, but there is nothing like it in Spain so we decided to create one when we came to live in Malaga," says Ukrainian entrepreneur Slava Bredikhim who arrived here two years ago with Ana Lykova and spent time searching for the ideal premises. He eventually found a place in Calle Martínez Campos with enough room for this project.
The last of the four rooms features special cinema effects and illusionism. There is an upside-down house, where you can walk on the roof like Spiderman, and the Ames Room, an experiment created by an ophthalmologist who plays with optical illusions and shows how a five-year-old child can look taller than his father. Meanwhile, nearby, a girl is levitating, like in the films. Once the photo has been taken, she puts her feet back on the ground, grabs her mother's mobile phone, looks at the photo she had taken and immediately posts it online and waits impatiently for her friends to respond.