It is in its bowels that a building gives up its most treasured gifts.
Visitors to Amsterdam are typically charmed by the Eye Filmmuseum’s gravity-defying architecture, but it’s in the depths of its basement where some of its most rewarding cinematic gems are to be found.
Stepping into this space is to be surrounded by a swirling array of frames from some of the 40,000 films that are archived by the museum. It’s an immersive and slightly overwhelming experience that really underlines the wealth of Dutch cinema the building contains (virtually every Dutch film released each year is added to the collection).
But from seeming chaos emerges clarity – the visitor is encouraged to attend a personal console, of which there are 7 arranged around the space, and choose scenes to individually view on a custom projection in front of them. The mechanism is triggered by way of a long lever, as though you are operating a kind of cinema fruit machine!
The scenes themselves are grouped into evocative themes, such as Discovery, Slapstick, Colours, and Battle.
For a cineaste, it’s a treat to be surrounded by swirling film strips, and to be able to siphon off custom viewing experiences at the pull of a lever.
The facility utilises an array of 11 ceiling-mounted projectors, with individual sound showers to isolate the listening experiences for each of the consoles. This hardware was installed by BeamSystems, who have over 30 years of experience in AV provision in the Netherlands.
The multimedia aspects of the project were handled by Submarine, an Amsterdam-based production company that operates right across moving image and interactive. They also have an online channel that serves up some great examples of animation, documentary and experimental work that is very much worth checking out.
EYE filmmuseum, Amsterdam – website