At the Humboldt Forum the Ethnological Collections and Museum of Asian Art found a new very prominent location in the heart of Berlin. Behind its historical façade this new building puts the various cultures of the world at the center. Important exhibits are now given the stage they deserve and thus the opportunity to be seen and discussed anew by many visitors.
The reorganization of the museums in the Humboldt Forum offers a unique opportunity to rethink the great collections. Space has been a key partner in this new beginning, designing and implementing most of the interactive, immersive stations at the museums. This has resulted in installations on a wide variety of topics using an even wider variety of technologies. We always had only one thing in mind: how can we create the best experience for a certain topic and a certain target group. You could also say that we turned the second and third floor of Humboldt Forum into Space Forum.
Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz
From the silk road in china to Oceania from Cameroon to the indigenous in today’s Canada. The installations in the different departments of the museums are as diverse as the artefacts on display and the historical contexts that are laid out. Each of the commissioned interactive installations was carefully developed together with historians, curators and local artists to guarantee a maximum degree of authenticity. The Space developer crew then made sure that these ingredients were put together to a very immersive experience talking directly to the addressed target group.
Under the cupula, at the heart of the museum, you can let your eyes roam over the Silk Road and witness a long journey and history. Together with historians and curators, we used the museum‘s extensive collection of materials to show the „Northern Silk Road“ theme in an impressive dome projection. We developed a 15-minute animation that is projected inside the museum’s dome, 14 meters in diameter. Six projectors are aligned to cast a seamless and cohesive image into the dome, so you can observe how influences move from East to West and likewise West to East.
Using augmented reality, visitors can digitally explore various exhibits from North America’s First Nations. Holding a tablet in their hands, they can access the exhibits from different perspectives and learn what these different point of views are all about . A special focus is put on the perspectives of the Indigenous People, who directly speak to the visitors.
This mobile ebook application represents the critical confrontation of experts and authors (and the museum) with the collection practices of earlier times. A travelogue can be explored digitally, focusing on Indigenous perspectives that question the asymmetrical power relations then and now.
A huge sensory wall projection invites young visitors to interactively play with the myths of the Amazon rainforest. Just by moving their bodies they can discover the magic of the jungle as well as the threats that modern society provides to that region. The application was developed together with schnellebuntebilder and is extremely popular with children (and adults). Afterwards, the children can listen to various myths in hammocks.
In two interactive applications, a visual novel and a panorama search game, the task was to convey in a very simple way what colonialism is and what effects it had in Cameroon.
Young visitors can meet Rudolf Manga Bell, the king of Cameroon during the German colonial occupation. They can see how three children play an important role in informing the German Empire of the crying injustice in their colonies. And even better: become one of the kids in the intercative visual novel and decide themselves, what to do.
In Oceania, a different type of boat is used by each island. But why are there different boats and why are they built the way that they are? In an interactive game those different boats can be steered through the archipelago and their history can be explored. The kids can immerseve themselves in the world of islands in our multi-player game and have fun while exploring them.
In a second game, the young visitors can build a boat themselves together with some locals – and that without a single nail.
For the last years an intense discussion about the restitution of the Benin Bronzes took place. But instead of showing numerous bronzes in the exhibition this debate was made the core of a large 10-channel video installation. Instead of the bronzes, the different points of view of those involved are now the focus of the designated space. For this we have led 10 interviews in Europe and Nigeria with members of the benin royal family, representatives of the Nigerian government, artists and heads of museums, to give the viewer an overview of the history of Benin, its looting and the scattering of the artworks around the world. By means of the installation, the viewers should additionally get an insight into the discourse and the different perspectives and opinions.
The video installation „Journeys of a Javanese Body“ shows that culture has a fluid and processual character and that Indonesia’s rich dance tradition is at the same time changing and contemporary. The 14-meter-wide, 16-minute-long projection invites viewers to engage with the world of Asian theater. It was directed by Rizki Resa Utama and Camilla Kussl in collaboration with artists Rianto and Cahwati.
The exhibition module „Aspects of Islam“ is intended to present the diversity of the Islamic faith and its practices. To show Polyphonic Islam in Berlin it portrays the cultural and religious-ideological diversity of Muslims in a multi-channel installation. For this we were able to closely accompany 4 representatives of different Islamic faiths with a camera team in Berlin for several days.
To create smooth seamless experiences it takes many steps, a lot of prototyping, trial&error and feedback loops. Along the way we always wanted to get the users’ feedback. That’s why we did pen and paper tests at a very early stage of the development process. Additionally, we did on site testing with a large number of users for some last-minute adjustments as well as bug fixing…
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