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MUSEUM AM STROM

The wonderful world of Hugo Gernsback

The life of Hugo Gernsback, famous graduate of the Technical University of Bingen, was the subject of an exhibition in the Museum am Strom – a historic electric power station on the banks of the river Rhine. Q was asked to create a key visual and contribute ideas for the exhibition interior.

The life of Hugo Gernsback, famous graduate of the Technical University of Bingen, was the subject of an exhibition in the Museum am Strom – a historic electric power station on the banks of the river Rhine. Q was asked to create a key visual and contribute ideas for the exhibition interior.

THE TASK

Born in Luxembourg, Hugo Gernsback studied electrical engineering in Bingen in 1901 before emigrating to the United States, where he became an inventor and editor. His fantastic magazines, Amazing Stories and Wonder Stories, were so popular that he became known as the grandfather of science fiction. In the Museum am Strom – a former electric power house constructed in 1898 – the City of Bingen celebrated his work with the exhibition “The Wonderful World of Hugo Gernsback (2 June – 26 2017, extended to 7 January 2018). Q was asked to create a key visual and contribute ideas for the exhibition interior.

THE KEY VISUAL

Based on an old cover illustration by Frank R. Paul for Air Wonder Stories, a Gernsback scifi magazine issued in June of 1929, we created a key visual for promotion on flyers, the City of Bingen’s website, and on posters. In bright colors, it communicates a spirit of imagination and adventure, two elementary traits of the famous Bingen graduate. For the chronology, we not only chose a retro approach for the typographic design, but also kept all of the original’s transient marks (such as cracks and wrinkles) in the image. The exhibition poster attracted enormous interest even beyond German’s borders: It was presented in an online feature of the international poster forum Poster Poster and displayed at the world-famous Poster Biennal in Grand Junction, Colorado/USA.

THE INTERIOR

For the exhibition itself, we provided all the information panels as well as ideas for the interior design. On a curtain, which is opened by visitors as they enter the main exhibition space, we see the young Gernsback on a luxury liner, crossing the Atlantic Ocean in 1904. In the main exhibition room, his post-emigration life is presented. In the middle, a large room divider displays a holohedral image by famous LIFE photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt from 1963 of Hugo Gernsback, wearing his Teleeyeglasses, one of his many unsuccessful inventions but stunning predictions – 50 years before Google Glass were launched. On the other side of the divider, we staged the eventful biography of the electrical engineer as a circuit diagram.