The second ParallelShow took place in the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, the Netherlands. The choice of location might be a bit unexpected because it is not an art place. It is a museum for visual encounters with life in all sorts and that in itself seemed a very good reason to choose it for the ParallelShow.
Another new aspect was the number of participating artists. We were six: Peter Baren, Jeroen Bouweriks, Malou van Doormaal, Mr and Mrs Gray and Frans van Lent.
We walked together in a line through the corridor, from the central hall towards the exhibition building. During this walk we immitated the (electronic) bird-whistling coming out of the loudspeakers above us.
We then started to explore the museum individually.
After 90 minutes we gathered in the restaurant and discussed the possibilities.
Many ideas came up, some were chosen to work out.
The most distinct aspect was the number of parents with young children. The museum seems to be designed specifically for this targetgroup.
The exhibited objects are presented not only to look at, but also to touch and to physically manipulate. The museum is mainly focused on interactivity, on making the experience as vividly as possible.
Another aspect was the fact that every exhibited species is dead and stuffed, nothing moved of its own accord, all sounds came out of loudspeakers. This museum, dedicated to life in its broadest sense, only showes man-made immitations and dead animals. The visitors are learning about life by studying death.
There was a tendency of (some) parents to withdraw into a state of lethargy in the background while their children were enjoying the attractions. By doing that they seemed to more or less approach the condition of the stuffed animals. It created a certain mirroring and we decided we could join them in doing that.
Another concept was the devise of a lost child. Malou made up a 5-year old girl called Malina. ‘Malina wears blue jeans and a yellow t-shirt, applicated with a white elephant. She has long brown hair’. Malou reported the missing girl, together with Jeroen, to the staff of the museum, and by doing that she created an official search for this unknown living creature in the museum. This activity related to the adventurous searches organised to entertain the visiting children.
Two concepts we could not carry out because of closing-time :
– One was a training in patience by queuing where ever we found possibilities to queue.
– And the second was a group-action of slowing down (stopping) for a short moment the 4 meter big globe in the geographical department.