CALVIN – “A Day in the Life of John Calvin”

CALVIN – “A Day in the Life of John Calvin”

Period: June 2008 - October 2009 Type: Other Research Status: Completed


Context: To commemorate the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin (1509–2009), the International Museum of the Reformation, Geneva is organizing a temporary exhibition entitled “A Day in the Life of John Calvin”, and will take place in the Museum of the Reformation itself, from 24 April to 31 October 2009. This exhibition aims to attract visitors from all over the world thanks to its modern design, featuring virtual representations of the Reformation -era world and Calvin’s main occupations. MIRALab will simulate in 3D the Reformer in his familiar surroundings and activities; this will help foster a better understanding of his life and actions, in the manner of a documentary film. In addition, this event will take an international dimension by being shown simultaneously in Dordrecht, Netherlands. The University of Aperdoorn (NL) will thus adapt this conceptual exhibition with Dutch supplements.

Description: Eight pavilions (2 m by 2 m each) will follow John Calvin throughout a typical day, from the time he woke, usually around 4 am, until his bedtime, around 9 pm. In each pavilion, the voices of Calvin, of his friends and adversaries, combined with the sounds of the city, will provide an understanding of both the life of the reformer and daily life in Geneva. Surrounded by historically accurate sets, a three-dimensional animated figure of Calvin will employ simulation technologies developed by MIRALab to speak directly to visitors.

Objectives: The aim of the exhibition is to separate the myth of John Calvin from the reality, while also replacing the historical facts in their context. The innovation of this exhibition is reflected on the one hand in its artistic expression, using new technologies, and on the other hand in its realization, involving multi-disciplinary teams (historians, architects, researchers, designers, etc.). The specific expertise of each team will present to the public a high quality collaborative work, faithful transcript in its history and innovative in its visual presentation.

MIRALab’s contribution

The 3D aspects of the project.


International Museum of the Reformation

MIRALab, University of Geneva