Interactive exhibition design – strategies for the presentation of objects and content in an exhibition context using the example of the Melk Monastery’s collection.
As part of the Melk Monastery’s redesign of its permanent exhibits, the Ars Electronica Futurelab produced two interactive multimedia installations: one elaborating of the economic history of the monastery, the other detailing the history of its construction.
An antique chest from the monastery’s collection was outfitted with a touchscreen interface and a photoelectric light barrier. The user can select original coins from different historical epochs that have been arrayed inside the chest’s glass lid, whereby touching a particular coin activates the presentation of corresponding background information on a projection screen. In addition, visitors can deposit their own coins through a slit in the chest’s glass lid, enabling the antique chest on exhibit to once again fulfill its original purpose, whereupon a “thank you” appears on the projection screen.
This installation combines a touchscreen terminal and a projection screen. The Ars Electronica Futurelab was commissioned to translate historical blueprints and architectural renderings into an understandable, up-to-date form. To accomplish this, 3-D graphic techniques were used to transform the two-dimensional images into videos that graphically illustrate the progressive phases of the monastery’s architectural history.
The concept’s prime objective was to allow an intuitive dialog to develop between the visitors and the original pieces on display. Of decisive importance for the process of conveying the significance of the individual exhibits and their historical background is to place them in their cultural-historical context. The installations made it possible to illustrate this context even for users with no computer experience. The specially developed interfaces and the digitally processed material provide visitors with specific information almost incidentally through their own intuitive interaction with the stations.