Inaugurated in July 2021, the Humboldt Forum is one of Germany’s most important cultural projects.
Built on Berlin’s prestigious Museum Island – a UNESCO world heritage site – this monumental four-hectare center dedicated to art, culture and science, hosts vast collections of non-European art.
Tactile Studio was chosen to design the inclusive trail for the temporary exhibition “Terrible Beauty: Elephant – Human – Ivory”, which recounts the history of the ivory trade and illustrates millennia of human fascination for this much coveted material.
A tactile and auditory map located at the gallery entrance allows all visitors to immerse themselves in the space and understand the narrative trail that is set out.
This sensitive signage presents the key sections of the exhibition as well as the different content that is accessible to everyone. It comprises a tactile map, pictograms and captions showing clearly the specific details of each space.
The audio content, activated by a QR code at the station, helps visitors to explore the narrative trail and shows the key themes of the exhibition.
These unique devices offer visitors a journey back in time, and put into dialogue the interconnection between elephant, humans and ivory.
The first two stations are interactive. The first allows visitors to put together their own cabinet of curiosities – the direct ancestor of the museums of today. Everyone is invited to choose 12 rare or unusual objects of the period and to place them into the following categories: art – nature – fetish object – science.
The second is dedicated to how elephants communicate: thanks to a unique electronic system, visitors can feel the vibrations that these mammals transmit to the ground to warn of danger, search for food or find a mate.
The third and fourth devices are tactile. One is entitled “Loango Ivories” and presents the three main themes in the defence of a sculpted elephant, dating from the second half of the nineteenth century. A bas-relief of the object allows exploration of the general composition of the work, as well as the location of the chosen scenes.
The last station enables visitors to discover by fingertip the physical differences between the three species of elephant in the world. It comprises three-dimensional models of the male elephants and three relief drawings of the females, viewed face-on.
An exhibition to explore until 28 November 2021!
Client: Stiftung Humboldt Forum
Scenography: Holzer Kobler
Production: Atelier WAM