A heavenly setting
The exhibition ‘The Nebra Sky Disc – The Discovery of Heaven’ at the Drents Museum in Assen, The Netherlands, is designed by NorthernLight to create a contemporary “heavenly setting”. The scenographic concept for this archaeological exhibition has been conceived as a unique cross-over between exhibition and stage set. Visitors explore different scenes, while being immersed in an audio-visual trip that takes them back to prehistoric Nebra, where archaeologists found a spectacular sky disc featuring the oldest concrete depiction of astronomical phenomena known from anywhere in the world.
Together with a young Bronze Age woman, the protagonist of our story, visitors go on a quest to answer the question why people have been interested in the starry sky for thousands of years. This answer is found at the end of the journey in an intimate eye to eye moment with the Nebra disc. A spiritual and contemporary take on an “as if you where there” approach.
“The Drents Museum has been transformed into a heavenly setting….
When you think of an archaeological exhibition, you quickly think of display cases with pots and half-decayed objects in a somewhat dusty decor. Nothing could be further from the truth of the new exhibition of the Drents Museum: upon entering you imagine yourself under an enchanting starry sky. The walls in the dark space show an abstract vast landscape, surmounted by a blue-purple sky full of celestial bodies.”
Bronze Age transferred into the now
In the design of the exhibition, the Bronze Age form language is transferred into the now. “The colour range and physical shapes as well as the celestial bodies on the wall prints are derived from the shapes on the sky disk itself.” creative lead Max Pecher explains. Also the Nebra lettering is custom made to create an entirely coherent contemporary form language. Real footage and fantastic elements merge into abstract landscapes on the theatrical backdrops and serve as illustrations of the audio-visual story layer. The stage set is completed by abstract objects (a boat and bridge) that function as reminders of a mythical landscape.
The exhibition is built up in three parts. The first is the introduction, where visitors step into a giant light circle to start the audio-tour. Afterwards they walk in a procession-like way through the scenographic landscapes framed by circle-round showcases with objects integrated in graphical dioramas. The disc is finally revealed in the climax of the exhibition. It is presented in a mirrored half-circle, reminiscent of ritual landmarks from the Bronze Age, like Stonehenge.
The theatrical use of lighting, with gobo projectors and SFX lighting to mimic natural light settings like the northern light, are enhancing the overall atmosphere. A specially developed soundtrack by Yellowbloom is accompanying the audio-journey.
Prehistoric meets futuristic
Prehistoric and futuristic meet eachother in this exhibition. Not just in reference to its design and content, but also regarding its location. The exhibition is hosted in the medieval abbey of the Drents Museum in Assen, Netherlands. Here, the Nebra disc is located inside the chapel on the spot of the former altar, restoring the religious significance it must have had thousands of years ago.
The exhibition is produced in collaboration with the Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte in Halle (Germany). Lichtpunt, Iris vormgeving and YellowBloom helped to make this magical object come to live.
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