Erasmus Experience: Enter Erasmus’s intellectual world
Rotterdam Public Library
How do you make an inspiring, spatial experience based only on texts? Erasmus’s intellectual world is extremely rich but the available sources are very one-dimensional: mainly books and other documents. How do you turn them into an exhibition that doesn’t just feel like a book on the wall? That was one of the main questions for DOOR.
A visit to the Erasmus Experience begins with putting on a wristband. Each visitor wears a radio-frequency identification (RFID) band, which records their choices.
Leaping (in at the deep end)
With the wristband on, it’s time to leap in at the deep end. Literally a leap: visitors stand on a spot in front of a large screen. When they jump, their silhouette appears on the screen. The silhouette is your avatar in the exhibition.
Language, faith, behaviour
On the walls of the experience you find the areas of knowledge that preoccupied Erasmus: language, faith and behaviour. And his original books are also there, in vitrines. But more important is the fact that throughout the experience you can register your own opinion, with the help of the wristband.
In conversation with Erasmus
It’s easy in the heat of the moment to shout ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ in response to a particular statement, but how sure are you of your position? In the exhibition, Erasmus has a conversation with you. You can talk with him about your opinions and sharpen your ideas. Maybe you were quick to shout that people can say anything they want – but perhaps, upon further reflection, there are certain limits to freedom of speech.
Your ideas in the vault
Eventually you save your ideas in a virtual book, which is included in the collection of the Rotterdam Public Library. Open the vault and you see how your ideas find their own place in the library’s stacks.
An email from Erasmus
When you get home you find an email from Erasmus in your inbox, thanking you for your visit and containing a summary of all the choices you made in the Experience. So that you can read through your own ideas later.