Near Life: A 3D Exhibition

In collaboration with Studio Jester Blank, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin has created its first ever 3D tour of an exhibition. This novel, immersive 3D exhibition is based on Near Life: The Gipsformerei – 200 Years of Casting Plaster, which was held at the James-Simon-Galerie and closed in March 2020.

Visitors can move around the virtual exhibition space freely and explore the exhibition and its extraordinary objects as if they were really there. Additionally, 20 of the exhibits can be viewed in extra high-resolution 3D renderings.

The Exhibition as Immersive 3D Model

The exhibition Near Life: The Gipsformerei – 200 Years of Casting Plaster was digitised with the help of 3D laser scanning and photogrammetry technology. Through the three-dimensional imaging of the roughly 650-square-metre special exhibition space in the James-Simon-Galerie, which was rendered from some 3,000 different perspective points, the more than 200 exhibits can be viewed from all sides. The immersive 3D tour is accompanied by texts providing contextual information about the objects.


View of the 3D Exhibition Near Life © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gipsformerei / Studio Jester Blank
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gipsformerei / Studio Jester Blank

Navigation guide to the 3D exhibition "Near Life"

How Does It Work?

  • By double-clicking anywhere in the space you can select a rotation point.
  • By scrolling you can move toward or away from this point, and zoom in on objects and back out again.
  • Holding the left mouse button you can tilt and rotate the view.
  • By holding the right button you can move the view left and right, up and down.
  • By clicking on the numbered navigation points from 1 to 34, you can take a kind of guided tour through the space.
  • Some of the navigation points have links that take you to high-resolution renderings of individual objects, as well as audio and written content.

Recommended Browsers: Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, Edge

3D Renderings of Individual Exhibits

The extra high-resolution renderings of the exhibits include the shellacked plaster models of life-size sculptures from the collection of the Gipsformerei, such as the Laocoön and Princess Groups, or a nearly three-metre-long crocodile, as well as groups of objects on the theme of death masks or the sensitive casts from colonial contexts. There are also a number of contemporary artworks that can be explored up close, by artists such as Asta Gröting, George Segal and Allan McCollum. When viewing these individual renderings, the virtual visitors are accompanied by an audio-guide that has been produced especially for the exhibition – a multi-vocal sound collage that provides a range of perspectives on the themes.

Preview of Other 3D Renderings

You can see more 3D renderings of objects from the exhibition in the Sketchfab account of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

For technical reasons, it was not possible to produce high-resolution renderings of all the exhibits. You can find photos and explanatory texts for all the works in the exhibition catalogue.

3D rendering, virtual exhibition, post-production: Studio Jester Blank (Jens Blank, Philipp Jester)

Curator, texts and concept: Veronika Tocha
Audio-guide: Martin Baer (script and direction), Oliver Brod (audio and sound-design)
Translation of object texts: Otmar Binder; proofreading: Laura Preston
Exhibition design: Schroeder Rauch (Mira Schröder, Nicolas Rauch)