Amsterdam: Impossible Journeys

The ten objects presented here were chosen from hundreds of objects from historic collections in a collaborative and participatory way facilitated by curator Irina Leifer. Although these objects served as a point of departure for the contemporary artworks they could not be present in the workshops and the exhibition. Therefore Virtual Reality provided for an exciting substitute. The 10 films hereunder are made from the programmed 3D experience of the objects. Here is some historic context:

In 1668, the Dutch seaman Jan Struys lands in Russia. At the time the country is ruled by tsar Alexey Mikhailovich Romanov, father of Peter the Great. The voyager gets well acquainted with the everyday life of the Muscovians that he would eventually describe in his travel accounts in much detail. This catalogue features several exhibits of the second half of the 17th century that belong to the Museum of Moscow. All of these items have been discovered during archaeological excavations that enhance the Museum’s collection every year. Struys must have used similar objects.
All riders were familiar with iron stirrups. The cross guard of a sword was designed to protect the hands of the swordsman. Cruciate guards were very popular in Eastern Europe: these sabers were known as Polish or Hungarian. Battle axes with long shafts and wide semicircular blades were also widely used as cold armes. Their Russian name, berdysz, comes from Poland. The streltsy, or the infantry units, were thus armed. Jan Struys calls them the Strelitzers, or Soldatesque. Battle axes were quite common in Western Europe but the sheer size of the Russian ones amazed foreign travellers.

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