Sensorial Interior: Museum Diorama as Phenomenal Space

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Issue Vol. 1 No. 2 (2018)
Published Jul 30, 2018
Section Articles
Article downloads 1024
Submitted : May 21, 2018 | Accepted : Jul 18, 2018

Sarah Edwards


Museum dioramas are widely recognised as historic visual tropes used to frame the grandeur of the outside world within an interior viewing space. With the development of digital technologies, data projection and soundscape have increasingly replaced diorama production as a means to transform these once static-animal-posed-in-painted- habitat with immersive interiors that engage the visual and aural senses alike. Andre Breton proposes that two modes of consciousness exist: an exterior world of facts and an interior world of emotions. These interiors and exteriors produce an interface and exchange. An invitation to respond to the interior of RMIT University’s First Site gallery provided an opportunity to experiment with the three traditional dioramic elements used to bring the exterior world into an interior employing taxidermy, model making and set painting. By engaging digital technologies in response to these three elements, I developed a sensorial interior, where the exterior world of facts was set into dialogue with the interior world of emotion. A physical encounter that expanded on ‘interior’ as an experiential, relational, phenomenal and emotive space.

Keywords: interior, museum, diorama, sensorial, haptic, history

Article Details

How to Cite
Edwards, S. (2018). Sensorial Interior: Museum Diorama as Phenomenal Space. Interiority, 1(2), 173–184.
Author Biography

Sarah Edwards, Artist, Australia

Sarah Edwards (PhD) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Melbourne. Her PhD research - The Museum Hummingbird: Transforming Nature, Creating Wonder - took inspiration from the methods used by natural history museums to prepare specimens. By appropriating these transformative processes, Sarah questioned our relationship with nature as mediated through natural history collections. Experimenting with light and sound, and framed by Foucault's seminal The Order of Things (2007), Sarah's artwork reflects on systems that ascribe meaning to the natural world.


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