Public / Designing Experiences
Libeskind building, Berlin.
These are photographs (copyright The Jewis Museum Berlin) of The Libeskind Building in Berlin that I visited last year. I felt that this Museum is a prime example of how designing experiences help an audience perceive meaning better. The architecture of the Libeskind Building is designed to make people feel and understand through environment. For example, as I entered one of the voids I can remember feeling very claustrophobic and anxious- the walls were extremely high and made of thick concrete. Only a small slit of light appeared through a narrow window. Sounds were muffled and there was a distinctive contrast between being trapped inside and the outside world. These experiences made the history of the Holocaust much more vivid and horrific for me. However, it gave me a much better understanding of the events that happened and is something that has stuck with me.
Memory Void/fallen leaves- This room contains thousands of metal faces with their mouths open in an expression of shock. (far right)
'It’s an eerie atmosphere with the installation all to myself. I also feel what is unmistakably guilt as I tread on the “screaming” faces. Am I walking over representations of living breathing people? I think these feelings are in fact necessary, that I need to have these feelings of loss. Something important has been taken away. It’s as if the sculpture asks: “Germany is presently incomplete – will the country ever heal and be complete again?' (https://fotoeins.com/2013/04/02/shalechet-jewish-museum-berlin/)
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum contains collections of different species of animals- that are mainly displayed by taxidermy. Displays are arranged in typical glass containers in this museum, allowing people to see and examine animals but not touch. In the dinosaur collection a life size dinosaur was created and used as a more interactive installation- the dinosaur roars and moves. This exhibition appeals to people of all ages and is especially popular with families as it is something that can be enjoyed by everyone. It is both for educational and leisure use. There were other interactive installations that allowed people to physically experience some of the themes that were being talked about, such as illusion and colour.
Royal Veterinary College’s anatomy exhibition
The anatomy exhibition contained a range of animal bones and dissections. The exhibition was set up in sections, similar to a typical science museum layout, and was primarily used for eduction. The large difference between this exhibition, and for instance the Natural History Museum, was that you were able to physically touch some of the dissections that had been plastinated. This enabled students who are studying the anatomy to gain a better understanding of the subject. The building had also been designed to welcome study- by including places to sit and study. These areas also encouraged group work through placing tables and chairs together, creating an environment where students will naturally come together. Group work is essential when working as a vet.
I photographed dissections of dogs as it was something that made me feel really uncomfortable. Having dogs as pets, It was interesting to see that this is what caught my attention. I found it more shocking than looking at, for example, a dissection of a rat or and animal that I did not have an emotional attachment too. I started to think about places where they don't consider dogs as pets, such as Vietnam. Here dogs are used for meat and are farmed, and although the treatment of animals in this country, particularly in relation to dogs, is often cruel, it is interesting to see how people can find eating one animal shocking and another perfectly acceptable.
This led me on to thinking about culture, and how cultural differences can change people's perspectives of animals.
I read a very interesting article from National Geographic that explains the discovery of animal culture (something that people have been talking about for a while, but have not done extensive research on) in Orangutan's, and how it is significantly important to co-exisit with these animals in order to ensure not only their survival, but the survival of their culture. This means protecting the whole population of orang-utans. It also talked about what we can learn about our own evolution from ape to man by studying this social learning- social learning is one of the major steps in evolution, and one of the things that distinguishes us from animals.
My research led me to reading an essay by John Berger called 'Why Look At Animals'. This was my main inspiration for my exhibition idea. He talks about the ancient relationship between humankind and animals, and how this relationship has come to an end. I wanted to explore how and why this relationship has been lost, creating an exhibition that will allow people to see the history of animal and man, and see the importance of creating a society that allows this relationship to continue.
Seeing Comes Before Words
( Exhibition Title )
“Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak. But there is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but words can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it. The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.”
This room will explore the ancient relationship between man and animal thousands of years ago. The Title 'Dualism' explores the likeliness and unlikeliness of humankind and animals, and how this both divides and separates. For example, animals have both been worshipped and subjected, bread and sacrificed. The first subject for painting was animals, yet the first source of paint was blood.
John Berger looked at how language was the first time that separated humans form animals. 'Man originally felt identical to all those like him (including animals) until he came to understand himself through distinguishing difference.' -When a man was able to speak to another man, but when speaking to an animal it remained silence, he truly understood that he was different. This room will explore the relationship between man, language, and animal. There are many texts that focus on how language was largely influenced not only for the need to explain, but the need to express. The first metaphor was animal- The Lliad(one of the earliest texts available) speaks of animals as metaphors, such as 'as strong as an ox', or as 'brave as a lion.'
(room three + four)
This room will explore how in the last two centuries, animals have gradually disappeared. It is the room I will focus on for this brief. Themes that will run in this room are extinction and modern society (and how this effects our relationship with the natural world)
I felt that there are a lot of complicated points to make, and I wanted to simplify this to make a larger audience understand. My target audience is teenagers and older, with the purpose to educate future generations. A large factor of extinction within animals and the disappearance of animals in the 'wild' is due to the increasing population of people, the development of a capitalist society, and decreasing amounts of natural or protected landscape. In this room I will use the orangutans, a species on the verge of extinction and who are a prime species to show the relationship between man and animal, to educate the audience.
Oval room - audience is invited to lay down inside and view a 360 degree projection - different areas of the projection will show different 'species' or cultures of orangutang. However the movement and mass of people will gradually make the orangutang disappear through the use of motion censored graphics. As more people enter and more movement is created trees will fall down and the sound of forest will be replaced with the sound of deforestation ( tree cutters, man made noise). The idea is to get people to lie down and purely observe, being immersed in a world apart from their own. The longer you observe, the more the projection will show- such as the different cultures that are among these orang-utans. The longer you observe, the more you will learn about how similar and dissimilar these animals are to us. This symbolises the relationship between man and animal in relation to extinction, and how man is the cause of extinction in most cases. It also shows how there is still so much to learn about ourselves and how the world works through observation - a loss of these animals is not only a loss of species, but a loss of vital information that could further explain how we evolved. To carry on we need to repair our relationship with animals.