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The ORBIS PICTUS

April 9, 2007

-or The Gate to the Wold of Man’s Creative Imagination
interactive exhibition in the Czech Republic
designed by visual artist Petr Nikl

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The Czech Music Museum’s monumental vestibule and transepts have been filled with numerous musical instruments that stimulate creative abilities and imagination in visitors. “The interactive exhibition prompts the visitors to play and create with the help of artistic objects and instruments that produce various sounds and light effects,” says Jiří Wald, the initiator of the project.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart – an organic playing assembly mounted in an inflated heart-shaped structure, which makes possible, like all the other exhibits, the visitors’ active and creative participation. In the huge inflatable heart, in front of Petr Nikl’s imaginary landscape, visitors can play a three-octave bubbling water organ with its flue pipes immersed in water, designed by Václav Smolka, or a hurdy-gurdy created by Martin Janíček, or they can use sticks to sound Jaroslav Kořán’s Dreamers’ Astronomical Clock and peek into periscope tunnels devised by Petr Lorenc. In the monumental space offered by the Czech Music Museum, whose nave forms a natural body of the exhibition, the visitors will also find The Ear – Ondřej Smeykal’s sound tent, and The Eye – Petr Nikl’s massive object designed on the principle of the camera obscura. They will also have an opportunity to chime Milan Cais’s anthropomorphic kalimbas, Luboš Fidler’s Singing Butterfly – a huge keyboard instrument with aluminium rods instead of strings, Ondřej Smeykal’s rattling tube, Petr Nikl’s piano zither, Martin Janíček’s playing cylinder, Čestmír Suška’s metallic sphere and Jiří Melzer’s sound instrument. Visitors can also visually play Petr Lorence’s giant kaleidoscope and the Fountain of Pleasure, Ondřej Smeykal’s rotating object and Ivan Havlíček’s telescopic tubes, or set Zdenek Šmíd’s kinetic plants and Miloš Vojtěchovský’s object in motion. In front of the Czech Music Museum’s building an iron structure designed by Čestmír Suška will be mounted. During the exhibition a number of musical, dance and theatrical performances will be held; most of them will come from the alternative cultural scene.

“The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart by Jan Amos Comenius has been the main inspiration,” says visual artist Petr Nikl, the author of the artistic concept of the exhibition.

The scenario of the exhibition is based on his experience acquired from interactive exhibitions Nests of Games, Rudolfinum Gallery, 2000, and Garden of Imagination and Music, Czech exhibition at EXPO 2005 in AICHI, Japan, and the world premiere of the PAMPAEDIA project, of which ORBIS PICTUS is a part, in Paris in 2006.

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