The first Model Exhibition was planned and successfully realized by the Technical Museum Vienna together with the other consortium members. The exhibition was installed in the permanent exhibition area medien.welten in the period November 27th, 2003 to January 12th, 2004 and could be used there by museum visitors.
Model Exhibition 1 consisted of a real part with information elements about real exhibition objects and a virtual part that presented information elements (text, images, audio, video) about places and buildings in Vienna.
The content of the exhibition was related to concrete exhibits from the holdings in the museum archives and collections. In particular, a series of large-format photographs taken from the south tower of St. Stephan’s Cathedral in 1857 were used. The pictures were probably made by Paul Pretsch and are counted amongst the oldest existing shots of the city of Vienna. In both size and technique these historical photographs are similar to a series of panorama pictures which were commissioned by the photographic department of the K.K. Hof- und Staatsdruckerei (Imperial and Royal Court and State Printers) in 1860. Laid side by side the sequence of pictures presents an almost complete 360 degree panorama of Vienna before the demolition of the bastions. Today there are only two complete sets of these photographs – one in the collection of the Albertina and the other in the Wien Museum.
The 1860 photographs were reproduced by the Eduard Castle, the Austrian historian of literature, in 1929 and published by the Verlag der Österreichischen Staatsdruckerei (Austrian State Press Publishing House) as a “Panorama from St. Stephan’s Cathedral”. In the years 1994 and 2002 an new, expanded edition of the Eduard Castle portfolio was prepared by the Kulturverein Stadtpanorama (Klosterneuburg). In a lavishly produced publication the historical photographs from the year 1860 are compared with modern Vienna. Both portfolios are to be found in the collection of the Technical Museum Vienna.
The historical series from 1860 was very probably photographed with a bellows camera (which was also exhibited) from the south tower of St. Stephan’s Cathedral at a height of 132 meters. Little is known of the Staatsdruckerei photographer, Leopold Weiss. The camera constructor was the Austrian photo pioneer Josef Petzval (1807-1891) whose personal effects have been preserved in the Technical Museum. Petzval was a professor of mathematics and mechanics at the University of Vienna. It was because of his optical calculations, in conjunction with the work of optician Voigtländer, that the first fast, distortion-free, portrait lens could be made in 1840, only one year after the invention of photography.
In the Model Exhibition “View of Vienna” the two panoramic views from 1860 and 2002 are compared to each other. Taken from the tower of St. Stephan’s, they offer the visitor an unusual and interesting view of the city. With the help of the SCALEX system a presentational form was found so as to be able to alternate from the historical panorama to the contemporary one as well as being able to obtain in-depth information about numerous buildings and places in Vienna (hotspots) on the basis of personal interest. This virtual tour of Vienna was accompanied by a few selected objects which had a direct link to the historical panorama photographs. The most outstanding exhibit was the large format Petzval camera with which the historical photographs were very probably made. In addition the two portfolio works and a historical relief plan showing the City of Vienna in the year 1859 were presented. Information about all these objects could be accessed via a portable computer (PDA). This took place using special informational points (tags) which had been attached to the objects themselves.
The virtual part of the exhibition consisted of a large format video projection and a kiosk used to control the projection. The projection showed a section from one of the two panorama pictures as required or a horizontally divided view of both pictures one below the other. Using the work station the images could be moved fluidly further to the left or right so that a panoramic view was created.Gallery Model Exhibition 1