Beyond Perception Exhibition
- Museums Victoria
Beyond Perception: Seeing the Unseen is a large, immersive experience that explores the imperceptible worlds of science and technology. Developed for 13-15 year-olds and beyond, this exhibition aims to spark curiosity, and raise questions about the more complex and fascinating corners of science, engineering, mathematics and advanced technology. Visitors find their own path through the exhibition, and are given permission to ask questions, and invited to be more reflective and curious in their behaviour.
The challenge was making the exhibition design talk to the target audience (13-15 year olds) – not one that Scienceworks had appealed to before. Extensive consultation with our teen council taught us they wanted collaborative, immersive, sophisticated experiences; a place to ‘hang’. This was achieved through strong design language of dark curved walls, intriguing sight lines, evocative soundscaping with deep bass and soaring synthesizers, lighting with high contrast installations, and an interpretative style that blends the digital and physical in unexpected forms with an informal tone. The result is sophisticated, relaxed, fully immersive and wrapped in layers of science.
Innovative collaborations: We worked with more than 45 separate artists, engineers and local creative companies to develop the unique immersive experiences and create the highly bespoke end product. This included robotic CNC carving of recycled timber into the controller shapes for the Fluid Dynamics installation and the 3 metre 3D printed sculptural form for the Projection Mapping exhibit. We also worked with 28 diverse and inspiring scientists and engineers from across Victoria’s top Universities to help unpick the “edge of science stories” that sit with each experience.
“It was a unique exhibition that challenges what you normally expect.” – Visitor feedback
Beyond Perception is part of a transformational change for Scienceworks. This new long-term exhibition transforms the top floor of the main exhibition gallery into a contemporary, cohesive and immersive environment, specifically designed to change audience perspectives and behaviour. The design of the spaces has given special consideration to a slower visitor pace and more open immersive and collaborative environments. The experiences bring together the worlds of physical and digital interaction, art, technology and science, and are designed to be unexpected, striking and open-ended in exploration, hopefully leading to many repeat visits.
Innovative partnerships: All of the amazing stories and experiences in the exhibition were adjudicated by our most important partnership, the JBoard. Beyond Perception was co-developed with teenage members of a specially-convened youth advisory council. Each month for two years, a group of local 12-15 year olds met with the museum team to share ideas, test prototypes, critique content, comment on design proposals and review interpretation. JBoard provided feedback on almost every aspect of the exhibition to ensure that it is both appealing and tailored to young adults. This iterative and consultative approach ensured delivery of an audience-centred design response.