11: Exhibition pitch.

STOP PRESS: We’re not going to talk to anyone who doesnt port their work on the blog.  So far that means that only Manish is due a tutorial!

You are now on the run-up to the interim crit, as which point we want to see a complete project proposal under way.  Of course, the work will be uneven — some will be more finished and developed and some will still be in outline form — but we will expect to see plans, sections, models, interior views, axonometrics showing form, materials, circulation, spaces, construction — and exhibits.  In fact, the whole ‘concept’ and the way in which the building acts as an interpretation of the DDR.

In this you are all weak in one area: the exhibition.

This week, you have to imagine you are doing a ‘pitch’ to explain to your client what your idea is for the exhibition design which will chart the whole history of the DDR.  In most cases, this job would be handed over to an exhibition designer so you should treat this as though it your last chance to ‘save’ your design input into how the museum will work from the point of view of the visitor.

Put together a power point of no more than 20 images and a talk of no more than five minutes to describe your exhibition.  This should make it clear what the general curatorial idea is — the theme or concept underlying the exhibition.  Does the Museum present the DDR as a narrative timeline? as a series of themed collections?  Does it feel academic? Serious? Entertaining? How do you deal with ambiguous or conflicting material? (saying ‘you see objects diferently from different places” is at this stage in the game a hopelessly inadequate respones; you have to show us what objects you see, how they are displayed, how (and if, and why) they are displayed differently in different cases.  You have to show us how you deal with small items and big ones; how you group exhibits together, whether they are in cases or whether the visitors can touch/use/walk through them; how they are lit, framed, protected, viewed; how often the exhibitions are changed, what interpretative material is provides: texts, audio guides etc? How your building treats bout itself, its site and the whole of Berlin as the biggest exhibit of all. Etc.

Remember that this is a huge museum.  You should expect it to hold tens or hundreds of thousands of objects.  You will need to think how to group and organise these objects.  You will need to think which goes with which, and what it means when you group things together (eg idealistic propganda grouped with great success stories will be read differently to idealistic propaganda groups with spying equipment. You will need to select your key artefacts and show in detail how you intend to present them.

Unless you have a strongly worked out alternative, assume that as in most major museums you would have a large permanent collection (which might be periodiaccl re-hung) a store of further material, and a temporary gallery for shorter term exhibitions

This sounds like a lot of work, but in fact it is ground you have covered over and over again in this project from the 100 objects on.  Your group work on Berlin, your photos of museums you visited, your 100 museums, your sketches are all stuffed with this information.  So are the movies you’ve watched, the books you’ve read etc.  If you dont know enough, read more.

A fantastic source for this is the current BBC programme and web areas A History of the World in 100 objects which tells the story of man through selecting meaningful objects from  the last two million years. Luckily, you only have to choose from a much shorter time frame of the DDR.


The time for generalising is over.  We dont want to hear that this is about the interaction of the Stasi and Everyday Life, we want an ambitious description of what you mean.

We would expect your work to be put together as a very convincing and interesting proposal, which would describe your overall concept, your circulation strategies, your key exhibits, would show how you wd make a selection, how the visitor would interact with them; whether it would be free or paying etc etc. You should be able to use work that you have already made throughout the project as well as assembling, drawing and selecting new information to do this part of the work

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