Campus - 12.09.2016 - 00:00 

Eerily playful – this year’s Museum Night

Once a year the Museum Night takes place in St.Gallen. More than thirty museums, galleries and further exhibition venues offer visitors a special programme. This year’s motto is "…plays". Thousands of people watched, bowled, rolled dice and generally played throughout the long balmy night. The HSG also played host to the Museum Night. By Dana Sindermann.

13 September 2016. From galleries, churches and libraries to classic museums, all the venues had prepared special offers. And thus venerable art and culture institutions showed their light-hearted side that night. At the central venue, the Municipal Park with its museums, it was the spirit of a friendly get-together that prevailed.

In the Art Museum, young and old together discovered masters of art history, bizarre sculptures and eerie video clips. A glimpse out of a window into the twilit Municipal Park also revealed unusual scenes. Pitch-black balloons with equally dark wings hovered across paths and lawns. These flying objects had been built by children in the bat exhibition in the Natural History Museum, where visitors also learnt a particular fact about the dark fruit bats: during their nocturnal hunt for insects, these animals use up energy which amounts to half their own body weight. How many kilogrammes would we be allowed to gorge ourselves on under these conditions during the Museum Night? People who wanted to know were able to find this out on a special pair of scales. The culinary delights for the purpose were available from many food stands both indoors and outdoors.

Playing through the night

The motto "…plays" was extensively followed by many night owls in unusual surroundings. In the Ethnological Museum, skittles was played and dice were rolled between the display cases – and they were made of bones, a common playing material in the Central Europe of Antiquity. The Museum im Lagerhaus, too, became a stage. Between art works by Nikki de Saint Phalle und Eugène Ionesco, the tiltanic actors’ quartet performed sketches at the request of the public. Their spontaneous and original realisation caused a great deal of hilarity. Great fun was also to be had in the NEXTEX project room, which currently houses an exhibition about self-portrayal. Here, visitors competed against each other to see who could make the worst faces, all recorded by a Polaroid camera. At the HSG, the night was dynamic from head to toe: its guided tours of art and architecture were enriched by acrobatic capoeira scenes.

Those who even let themselves be inspired to dance were able to go to St.Gallen’s most famous Protestant church. With pop-like lighting and a duo of DJs, St.Laurenzen had transformed itself into a music and dance hall for the night. And at some point, a pitch-black bat balloon rose into the air – time for people to leave the stage to its furry siblings and other friends of the night.

The author, Dana Sindermann, is a research assistant at the Institute for Business Ethics.

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