Pre Columbian Gold Museum

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INTERACTION

For the renovation of the Costarican Pre Columbian Gold Museum, we designed two permanent interactive installations, custom developed and built by our team and constructive partners.

U SULÉ

A station that would showcase the creation of the Universe according to the Bri Bri and Cabécar tribes.

PRESENT

A station dedicated to understand, firsthand from the communities, their current situation as members of costarican native tribes, today.

The Costa Rica PreColumbian Gold Museum, one of the few gold museums in the world, commissioned us the creation of a permanent installation to showcase the origin of the universe, U SuLé, according to native precolumbian tribes. The Museum, having being last renovated 15 years ago, was to renew completely for opening January 2019 and seeked an engaging experience for audiences wide -toddlers to elders, nationals to foreigners, even members of the few remaining precolumbian communities.

A cosmogony fantastically rich, re interpreting the story of the creation of the universe turned out to be a one of a kind task and challenge in respect. To gather faithful information, we went to the source: the communities. Our team experienced storytelling first hand from Tribe Leaders themselves at their sacred ceremonial houses. The depth in meaning was unprecedented and so our mission became to bring this experience back to where visitors at the Museum could learn but mostly engage with the story in an emotional level. We aimed to develop a custom installation featuring the first image and sound representation of the BriBri world.

The inspiration for the design was the Universe itself. Conceived as a double cone, U SuLé is made up of 9 levels where spirits, animals, humans, sicknesses and god Sibö, all dwell. We constructed a cylindric structure for projecting images that, along with surround sound, created an immersive environment.

The cylindric shaped space represents a slice of the universe, which can be navigated by a central pole, also inspired by a pole that holds the universe together, where embedded custom engineering, sensors and a magnetic system allow real time connection within the object and the audiovisual system. Moving the control at the pole upwards or downwards brings visitors to different levels of the cones, as if riding an elevator. Voice over narrations describing each sub world can be heard in English, Spanish and Bri-Bri tongue, along custom sound design. Never before had this story been told with means other than oral telling within the communities.

We joined forces with the community and the Museum in a collaborative and interdisciplinary process, which included the concept and creation of audiovisuals, interaction and technology, coding, engineering, product design and fabrication of computer boards, wireless systems, a magnetic hold within the central pole structure, as well as the video mapping, blending and technical design.
The result is a self guided permanent installation where visitors build their own journey through the BriBri universe, challenging traditional narratives to create new and enticing ways of learning and engaging with a story that has remained unknown for too long.

“Actualidad” (present), in the second level of the Precolumbian Gold Museum, is a station that showcases the reality of the native costarican communities, today. We designed a space for the projection of a documentary in which members of the different communities talk about their current situation, philosophy and daily lives. The design of the space includes a map of the country, built in levels and scale, observing the official political divisions and what remains as originary precolumbian regions, color coded for categorization and differentiation. In synchrony to the documentary video and with the use of video mapping techniques, both audiovisual contents relate to each other and complement the narrations and each of the narrators to their geographic region and respective culture. This facilitates learning an comprehension of the information, as emotional connections are created to a message already impactful by itself.


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