The multimedia exhibition of the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment at the Museum of Communication in Berlin provides insights into communication during the COVID‑19 pandemic. How did authorities and healthcare organizations communicate? And how did the press, television, and social media? Over several years, both this crisis and the communication regarding its details were a big part of people’s everyday lives. However, the way this crisis was communicated to and among the population so far has hardly been dealt with.
Interactive Exhibition Concept and Timeline of the Pandemic
Garamantis designed the special exhibition “#Everyday Life in Times of Crisis – Crisis Communication During the Pandemic” as an interactive space. According to the exhibition concept, visitors pass the last few years in review by walking along a 30 m long timeline of the pandemic. In the process, they encounter stations depicting key events, political decisions, the communication of all involved parties, and milestones in the development of the pandemic. 16 multi-touch monitors that are literally embedded into this timeline provide in-depth information on crisis communication.
Two Interactive Centerpieces
A multi-touch table and a 360-degree rotatable multi-touch screen form the central stations of the exhibition. At the multi-touch table, visitors can find out about BfR’s scientific findings on COVID-19. On the swivelling monitor, they can explore a social media word cloud that reflects public discussions in online media during different phases of the pandemic.
Crisis Communication in the Event of Pandemic
In 2020, COVID-19 radically changed our lives. Its social and economic impact and the way it affected education and work are still being felt today. Communication during this crisis was characterised by a high degree of uncertainty and a multitude of data and facts about the dynamics of the infection. Government agencies had to find a communication strategy to process and manage the data and information about the outbreak. They had to communicate to the public the policy decisions and measures taken to control the disease and to raise awareness of the potential dangers of COVID infection. In some cases, these decisions and measures were met with incomprehension and protest from parts of the population. While the journalistic media processed events and data according to their own standards and criteria, critics of government decisions turned to public rallies and social media to communicate and defend their positions.
Outcomes of the BfR Research Project MIRKKOMM
The exhibition outlines first results of the BfR research project MIRKKOMM. It was co-developed and co-curated by, among others, students at Berlin School of Popular Arts (SOPA) and Berlin School of Design and Communication (BSDC). Using innovative forms of presentation and illustration, it encourages visitors to reflect on the way they experienced communication during the pandemic. In addition, it shows what lessons can be learned from those challenging times in order to better face future crises. Garamantis conceived and implemented the interactive exhibition. The interior and exhibition designers Rotes Pferd from Berlin were responsible for the exhibition’s drywall construction and the wall print design.
Exhibition Vernissage With Guests From Science and Politics
The exhibition at the Museum of Communication Berlin will open on Thursday, July 13th, 2023, with welcoming speeches given by Anja Schaluschke, director of the museum and Prof. Dr. Dr. Andreas Henseln, President of the BfR. The other speakers are Dr. Ralf Gebel, Head of the sub-department for “Application-oriented Research for Innovations” at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and Heiko Rottmann-Großner, Head of the sub-department “Health Safety” at the Federal Ministry of Health.
Photo Copyright: Museum für Kommunikation, Kay Herschelmann