Copenhagen Gallery

The Extension - Thorvaldsens Museum

Occupying a prominent position between Christiansborg Palace, the Supreme Court, Frederiksborg Palace Chapel and the canal, there is no scope for extending the building physically and besides, it is a listed building.

Thorvaldsen's Museum on Frederiksholms Canal is locked in by its environs in many ways. Occupying a prominent position between Christiansborg Palace (home to the Danish Parliament), the Supreme Court, Frederiksborg Palace Chapel and the canal, there is no scope for extending the building physically and besides, it is a listed building. The museum therefore turned its attention to the Internet.

The virtual extension on the Web was 'designed' by the design and art group Oncotype. Morten Schjødt, a designer from Oncotype, explains that whereas the physical spaces at Thorvaldsen's Museum are largely fixed, standing like icons of the neoclassical period and architecture, the virtual extension has been conceived as a flexible space. That is to say that the online exhibition rooms change as the museum visitor clicks his or her way around. Eventually, visitors are supposed to be able to give their input online and thus contribute to shaping the look of the Extension.

Three trails in the Extension

The Extension, as this virtual annex has now been officially dubbed, initially targets secondary-school students and other relatively young people.

There are three so-called trails. The Corridor is a fictitious trail where it is possible to experience a mosaic of short films made at the museum using professional actors in the leading roles. The films can be combined however people like, thus creating a unique setting for Thorvaldsen's art and collections.

In the Archives guests can immerse themselves in Thorvaldsen and his art, mostly in the form of pictures and factual texts. Finally, there is the Project Room, which is attached to a digital workshop at the physical museum. From the digital workshop visitors can upload their own images and impressions from the museum to the project room on the Internet. They can then attach various pieces of information from the Extension's other rooms to their impressions and thus create alternative routes through the museum, which others can then follow.

Drawing on experience

In its annex to Thorvaldsen's Museum, Oncotype draws on its experience from a series of other interactive projects, including the interactive feature film Switching, from 2003. The 27 short films included in The Extension have been arranged as a series of circular sequences that can be interlinked and crisscrossed in all directions. This is done by having the user click on text links that pop up in the films along the way. The films revolve around three young people who have come to Thorvaldsen's Museum to do some drawing. At the museum they meet an attendant and their old drawing teacher, amongst others, and along the way they manage to experience and discuss both Thorvaldsen, his works, his working methods and their relationship with one another.

Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014

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