Ghosts and Hells at musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac

musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac
Country: France
City: Paris
Institution Type: Art
Year Founded: 2006
Content Type: Audio
Tour Type: Adult, Access
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Client profile
The musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac in Paris, France, hosts a hugely diverse collection spanning Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. The museum houses 450,000 objects, of which 3,500 are on display at any given time, in both permanent and temporary, themed exhibits.
One exciting exhibition put on display from April 10th until July 15th 2018 is Enfers Et Fantomes D’Asie or, Ghosts and Hell: The Underworld in Asian ArtThis exhibition explores ghost stories from East and Southeast Asia featured in cinema, religious art, theatre, contemporary design, manga and video games.
Challenge
Antenna International, the tour service partner to the musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac has provided tour content and production, devices, and staffing for distribution to the museum for over 4 years.
When the museum approached Antenna to produce an audio tour for their newest temporary exhibit, Enfers Et Fantomes D’Asie, they asked for a radically different approach compared to what had been done before. Until then, the typical format for the musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac temporary exhibit tours had followed a random-access flow, meaning visitors can punch in a number on their device in any given order and hear information on pieces they find interesting. Because Enfers Et Fantomes D’Asie had such potential in terms of storytelling – with its hungry ghosts, vengeful apparitions and all manners of wandering spirits –, the musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac wanted a tour that would complement the works on display with a very immersive experience.
For this tour, the musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac required a universal adult tour in 3D audio, adapted to both valid and visually impaired visitors, to be produced in both French and English in under five months. The tour needed to explore reincarnation, shedding light on a cultural belief in souls wandering the underworld, and how those beliefs have impacted art, media and pop culture to this day.
Solution
To keep visitors fully immersed in the overall experience, a random-access tour – one that allows the visitor to chose not follow the development of the theme throughout time – wasn’t the answer. Something special was required. Instead, Antenna proposed a story-like linear tour, led by a fictional ghost who becomes the exhibit tour guide as he wanders throughout the exhibit in his quest for redemption. Along the tour, visitors are introduced to multiple fun and intriguing characters from Asian myths and legends. This cast of clever characters helps guests gain a better understanding of the artwork at hand whilst the creative 3D soundscape keeps everyone immersed in the exhibit experience.
First, Antenna worked closely with the museum staff to carefully select the foremost artworks which could also serve the story. In doing so, the team at Antenna and the museum were able to develop and write a narrative tour that would take visitors on a journey, whilst educating them on the pieces in the exhibit. Also taking into consideration the visitor traffic flow, that collaborative selection was then used as the baseline for the layout of the exhibition’s tactile pathway, which played an essential part in the story as the lifeline that guides the visitors from artwork to artwork.
For the visually impaired, Antenna build on the immersive experience notion, giving users the feeling that they were listening to an audio book rather than a typical audio-tour that relies too heavily on a visual experience. Instead of focusing too profoundly on the artwork description, the tour focuses on contextual information, giving visually-impaired guests a greater background of the artworks on display.
In addition to tour content production, Antenna provided and distributes tour devices via on-site Antenna staff, developed a downloadable app for the tour on iOS and Android and translated the tour into both French and English…all within a five-month timeframe!
Outcome
The team at the musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac are very pleased with the final production of this very special temporary exhibit tour. Launching in April of 2018, Antenna has continued to work with the museum, making slight changes to the tour to further improve the visitor experience.
Reviews of the exhibit have been very clear-cut, with some critics being over the moon with the overall experience and the refreshing tone of the tour, while other, more traditional visitors were disconcerted by this new format and left wanting for more factual information. All in all, the tour succeeds in being something out of the ordinary for museum guests, resulting in a memorable, entertaining and immersive experience.

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