Exhibition on the Wanli Expedition – White Gold from the Sea Floor

Client: Leuchtenburg Foundation
Location: Seitenroda, Thüringen, Germany
Date: 2011-2012

The scenographic concept recasts the historic exhibition rooms as a series of interlocking air bubbles. Seven spherical and elliptical spaces, constructed from stretched fabric, detail the recovery of 700,000 Ming Dynasty porcelain artifacts recently discovered off the Indonesian coast. The exhibition is built as a sensual narrative, with visitors greeted by the sound of the waves at the ocean’s surface, followed by gasp of a diver’s breathing apparatus and the ping of sonar as the process of maritime archaeology is explained.

Visitors are invited to become active explorers of this underwater world. Mixed in with artifacts and the personal stories of the crew are several interactive stations. “Gearing Up” offers sets of masks, fins, weight belts and diving vests that visitors can try on. In a darken film room, two mounted “Search Lights” are fitted with ultraviolet spotlights; when guests graze the oval walls with UV light, facts and figures about the dive operations suddenly become visible, inviting playful interaction.

The exhibition engages through its use of media in the form of narrated film segments, rooms washed with atmospheric projections, and a digital logbook. As the excavation in Indonesia proceeds, information about the dives and weather conditions from the ship’s daily logs are remotely updated and displayed in the exhibition. This makes for an experience that is highly contemporary and always offers visitors something new.

Project Partner:
– Kubix, Berlin

© Marion Lammersen
© Kubix, Berlin