How we used 3D audio to tap into the mind of Henry Fuseli at Kunstmuseum Basel

You put on the audio headset. So far, so normal. Then it begins . . . Henry Fuseli whispers in your ear. He speaks of his love of theater, his time as a university professor, and what inspired his greatest works. For a moment, you completely understand his genius mind-set: you are him.

This is all part of the new 3D audio tour experience Antenna has created for the Kunstmuseum Basel, an experience that has left visitors entranced.

Our Challenge: Create a dramatic, story-led, inspirational experience

The Kunstmuseum Basel wanted an out-of-the-ordinary, dramatic tour to match the theme of their new Fuseli exhibition, Drama and Theater.

The tour needed to create moments of wonder by immersing visitors in the stories of the striking works of art, their literary and stage references, and the fascinating life of the artist.

The museum wanted visitors to be able to take the time to become truly engrossed—in the words and rhythms of the books, the plays, the poems, and, of course, the paintings themselves.

Our Solution: Drama at every turn

Led by Andreas Kebelmann, a former theater director and now a Senior Content Designer for Antenna, we took a three-pronged approach to making this tour a “shivers-down-the-spine” experience.

  1. We created drama
    This audio tour goes well beyond a historian or curator imparting facts to the listener. There are no directions, no explanations, no dates or figures. It is pure drama. We developed 18 short audio plays featuring the Swiss artist and his biographer, John Knowles, talking, thinking, even arguing. Performed by theater actors, each of the stops in the hour-long tour tells a story of one of the pieces of art in the exhibition in a creative, emotive way.We also collaborated with Theater Basel on a video installation at the first stop, which places the visitor in front of a red stage curtain as if they were Fuseli before a performance. Take a look at this snippet from the script to see what we mean.

STXAtmosphere of a crouded auditorium, silence (the performance is beginning, occasional coughing, Fuseli’s breathing is audible) the cross-fade to the atmosphere of Fuseli’s study, with clock ticking in the background.

FuseliAnd as I look back on my life now with you, Knowles, those long-forgotten moments and memories seem to re-emerge. …So go ahead and ask your questions, Knowles. I’ve always hated wating my time. What do you want to know?

  1. We made the experience truly immersive
    To bring the plays to life in the most immersive way, we used the latest in 3D audio technology and imaginative soundscapes, placing the listener right at the heart of Fuseli’s experiences.Music and a multilayered audio background bring Fuseli’s memories to life. Whether he is in the theater, in a lecture hall, or in his own home, it is as if you are with him. What’s magical about the 3D audio is that it adds depth and distance to the sound experience —just as it would if you were really there.

    The audio was recorded in three locations with top-quality equipment so that each of these spaces is brought to life authentically:

  1. Fuseli’s Cabinet: 25m² room, recorded with Sennheiser Ambeo VR (Ambisonic Surround microphone), 2x DPA4088 headset microphones, and Sennheiser MKH40 for SFXTheater, Lecture Hall, Gallery: recorder with Sennheiser Ambeo VR & Sennheiser MKH40Literary texts, special narrative situations (e.g. letter reading): recorded with Sennheiser MKH40 and Cardoid Condenser Mic
  2. Theater, Lecture Hall, Gallery: recorder with Sennheiser Ambeo VR & Sennheiser MKH40
  3. Literary texts, special narrative situations (e.g. letter reading): recorded with Sennheiser MKH40 and Cardoid Condenser Mic
  1. We used leading technology

The tour uses our M3 multimedia player which provides super high-quality audio-visual content and advanced touchscreen interactivity. Heard through our premium-quality headphones, the sound is incredibly clear, and the experience is both intuitive and seamless.

The Outcome: An unforgettable experience

With overwhelmingly positive feedback from visitors, the museum, the wider industry, and the news media, Antenna is already working with Kunstmuseum Basel on its next dramatized audio guide.

And this is how one visitor summarized the experience: “The impact of the audio was really incredible. I wasn’t expecting an experience that is so dramatic; this new format really drew me into the paintings and the life of Fuseli, helping me understand it in an emotional way that isn’t possible with a fact-filled tour. I wish there were more audio tours like this!”

Contact us to find out more about this or any of our other projects.

Contact Us
Kunstmuseum Basel
Country: Switzerland
City: Basel
Institution Type: Art
Content Type: Multimedia
Tour Type: Family

Partner with Antenna

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About Us

We are innovative storymakers and creative technologists devoted to visitor-first experiences.

We make audio tours, mobile apps, multimedia guides, podcasts, interactives, and superior story-driven content for the museum and cultural sector.

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