Professor Stocker, you are the Chair of the Master’s programme “Exhibition Design”. Do you really hate exhibitions?
Yes, most of them! I find exhibitions very often boring. Which annoy me the most are those where I already know what they will be like before. This applies to both the content and the design side. The medium exhibition is a very great medium. You can tell the most interesting stories by questioning stereotypical opinions and you have to ask questions that the audience does not expect. This is then implemented in rooms by means of aesthetics. It’s actually like making movies, actually even better, because you can even go through the film here. You have to fascinate the visitors, that’s the job.
How to make interesting exhibitions?
The most important thing is to formulate questions that you haven’t asked yourself before. This is usually done in a transdisciplinary and also −as phrased by Michel Foucault− “de-disciplined” team. This means working across disciplines, but also not being restricted by individual disciplines. Just discovered. For example, I enjoy working with theatre people because they are used to develope interesting stories, but I also enjoy working with my best friend, a doctor, who is also generally incredibly educated. That’s how you think away from the beaten track.
It is also very important to integrate the aesthetic/design side right from the start. The exhibition designers must be on board right from the start and help to develop. The productive creative interaction between content and design is extremely important in order to successfully realize an exhibition project.
And what is the position of the Master’s programme in “Exhibition Design”?
What I have just explained above is also the specific aspect of the study programme “exhibition design”, this combination of aesthetics and content, which is exactly what is to be conveyed here in class. The fact that the practical element is naturally also central to a design course is also evident. We already carry out many real projects with institutions and companies during our studies, because this implementation competence of our students is an essential “Unique Selling Proposition” of our training.
Text: Karl Stocker, Verena Kolm, Photography: Karl Stocker