AniMotion: An Overview of Exhibition Installation and Computer Wizardry

Posted: 14th August 2016

Humber Museums Partnership - AniMotion: An Overview of Exhibition Installation and Computer Wizardry

Hull Maritime Museum

Event Starts:

9th July 2016

Event Ends:

4th September 2016


10:00 am - 5:00 pm

When I say that I work in Museum and Gallery curation people generally have little idea exactly what it involves… which is an entirely fair response! Most of what we do takes place behind the scenes and as a visitor you will probably only see the end result of weeks of planning, design, promotion and installation. Installing exhibitions is one of my favourite parts of the job and so I will focus on the design and installation of our recent exhibition ‘AniMotion’.


The AniMotion Exhibition explores the exciting world of animation through the interactive artworks of five contemporary artists and Aardman Animation (creators of Wallace and Gromit and of Morph).


The design for exhibition publicity material began months in advance as multiple options are produced by the designer. A single design is selected, and then undergoes a staged process of alterations and approval from partners involved in the exhibition. The material must then be printed, delivered and distributed – all of which is a time-consuming process.


When artworks arrive at the museum (whether they be terrifyingly significant historic paintings or cutting edge contemporary works, as in this case) It’s a little like Christmas. Everything is thoroughly encased in layers of protective bubble wrap or stored in crates. As curators and technicians unpack the exhibition, emerging objects must be documented and condition checked to ensure nothing has sustained damage. (Yes, a portion of this time is also devoted to popping bubble wrap).


It’s not only the realisation of months of work but also the chance to work alongside artists, technicians, colleagues from other museums and galleries … and most importantly the opportunity to wield power tools.


AniMotion was a particularly fun and challenging exhibition to work on, largely thanks to the sheer volume of technological gadgets, projectors and computer wizardry involved… which is clear from the picture below of our industrious yet slightly perplexed team of technicians working on Michelle Panegrossi’s work, SynchroniCity – but as you can see, worth the struggle!


Access and delivery routes were planned months in advance to factor in the public realm works taking place around the Maritime Museum. Detailed floor plans of the gallery space were created to show exactly where each work would be positioned in order to provide a flow through the space, line equipment up with power-points, meet health and safety regulations and to ensure it just looks good!


Of course these plans were then swiftly disregarded upon the arrival of the works… because sometimes, regardless of how much planning you do, you just have to be there to make these decisions.


Artists such as David Urwin arrived and fine tuned their work (in this case an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset) used in his installation ‘The Nature of Imagination’ and our team of fine technicians assisted. For this type of exhibition, which includes so much digital equipment, a lengthy process of de-bugging and fine tuning took place until every work in the show was operating smoothly.


Prior to the official opening, a press release was made by our Communications and Marketing team and local media attended early previews of the exhibition. This involved giving interviews for Radio Humberside and Hull Daily Mail… and posing for photos.


Finally the exhibition space was cleared of all tools and unnecessary equipment in preparation for the opening launch where hundreds of visitors arrived to enjoy the interactive exhibition.