This travelling exhibition explores the role of poison in nature, history, literature and legend. It tells the story though a series of compelling environments: visitors walk through a Colombian rainforest — home to many of the earth’s most poisonous creatures — and encounter scenes from literature and myth, including Snow White and MacBeth’s witches. A gallery of famous poisoners / poison victims from history – Napoleon, Cleopatra, Lucrezia Borgia – is peopled by ghostly edge-lit silhouettes. And more abstracted three-dimensional assemblages set the scene for interactive mysteries. The exhibit brings together many different types of user experiences — in addition to immersive environments, it features traditional artifacts and live animals, as well as an innovative live theater presentation and a series of iPad interactives inviting the visitor to solve poisoning mysteries.
The show’s graphics draw on the evocative history of poison, and its strong presence in literature. Banners introducing stories and sections reference bookmarks; they are printed in rich colors on satin and trimmed to a chevron point. Throughout, graphics use shifting color to communicate the uneasy spread of poison within an organism: banners turn black towards the top, label deck colors fade into the background. The typography and use of woodcut illustrations reference late 19th and early 20th century forms; when forensic science and the modern notion of poison was making its first impression on popular culture.