On January, 3, I went to see the ehibition “Avatar”, in a nice small town, Saltara (near Pesaro). The exhibition was hosted in the local Museo del Balì, a museum of science with an astronomical observatory and a planetarium. I knew the exhibition, although I couldn’t go and see it last year when it opened in Trento, and I was very happy of finally enjoyng it (it will be running until March, 15, 2010). The exhibit is made of many computer seats for the users, who can choose an avatar – with only a few personalization possibilities – and navigate through some environments.

Since the exhibition seems targeted to a general public, the digital world is very easy (but a map would surely help the less skilled people), although it is not always well explained what you have to do inside the worlds. The interaction is a little bit complex (a joystick and a mouse), maybe having only the joystick would have been better. Anyway “Avatar” is an exhibition which worth visiting. From the website:

“The interactive exhibition AVATAR is aimed to present a theme which, in spite being almost unexplored, involves more and more people every day: the virtual worlds.
Particularly, AVATAR wants to debate the social and cultural implications of such tridimensional worlds. Millions of people meet, built, exchange and live together through their avatars: digital representations of theirselves, weird inhabitants of virtual worlds. Norrath, Parioli, Paragon City are only a few among the thousands of synthetic lands walked by every day by a humankind on the run from the real world.
From what these people are escaping and where they are going are the main topics that AVATAR will treat.

A new format
AVATAR will be a virtual exhibition. The only physical set up will be a room equipped with several computer kiosks. The visitors will enter the exhibition from these hi tech kiosks, using an avatar.
As it happens in all virtual worlds, the users will be able to interact freely and, using voice chat, could decide to visit the exhibition together. On the other hand, AVATAR exhibition will differ from other virtual exhibitions since it will be characterised by three specific features that have been considered vital for the public’s fruition:
AVATAR will be accessible only by leaving the house and going to an environment shared with other visitors and its software will have a last generation 3D graphic.
These two elements are judged important to create a memorable experience for the public.
All virtual worlds facilitate social interactions since the use of an avatar reduces common inhibitions. If such phenomenon would reproduce in AVATAR as it is expected, the exhibition will be highly socialising.
Besides, AVATAR will offer a possibility usually denied in virtual worlds: the users that socialise within the exhibition will be able to meet immediately also in the real world, since they will share the same room while enjoying the exhibition.
Many virtual worlds have complex controls accessible to a limited number of people. Navigating in the AVATAR environments will be easy and intuitive: simplicity is a priority of the project.”

In the Museo del Balì there are also a planetarium and a permanent exhibition about science targetd at a general public and with a beautiful didactic approach: the public must interact with the installations – in a multisensorial way – to become aware of and to understand some physical phenomena.


The Planetarium


An exhibit, in the science exhibition, devoted to understand some properties of the light


More images in FaceBook