Behind the scenes – a look at the backend technology

The Virtual Kunsthalle is basically a freely playable and accessible 1:1 3D digital replica of the Kunsthalle Bielefeld, from the basement to the roof. The only change is that we have already fulfilled our long-standing wish for a white cube in the place of the lecture hall, at least digitally. This was implemented with OFFSPACE from SIMPLE GmbH. The browser-based, open source multi-user platform for digital 3D experiences is based on the open source software Mozilla Hubs.

Building the Virtuelle Kunsthalle on a multi-user VR platform enables us to offer communication, interaction and collaborative design options. In concrete terms, this means that up to 30 users can be in our Virtual Museum at the same time. Represented by their respective avatars, they can also see each other directly, talk to each other live via the microphones in their devices and thus also act together, e.g. create works of art together. This creates a space that can be filled by a form of social interaction that transcends the physical boundaries of users and the museum.

But in order to be able to take advantage of this exciting opportunity, I also need to have someone with whom I can interact. It is particularly helpful for this that Mozilla Hubs is browser-based, so the Virtuelle Kunsthalle can be used largely independently of platform and hardware. Access works both via the standard Internet browsers of various devices in 2D and with VR headsets from different manufacturers. Registration is also not absolutely necessary. This creates the conditions for a large number of people to become part of the virtual museum experience easily and at no additional cost.

Everything you can see, do and experience in the Virtuelle Kunsthalle is designed with the OFFSPACE modular system from SIMPLE GmbH in Cologne. This allows us to develop/support projects in a more sustainable way and gives us the opportunity to develop them in an agile way with you, the users.

While SIMPLE GmbH can customize larger features and functions for us on the basis of the open source software Mozilla Hubs, we can then combine these individually in-house and fill them with content. This is made possible by the visual programming in the backend. The Virtuelle Kunsthalle and its various uses, from internal exhibition planning to mediation and outreach tools, can thus be developed as harmoniously and efficiently as possible in correlation with your feedback and other workflows in the museum – or vice versa.

Do you want to help develop the Virtuelle Kunsthalle? Then you can find out how here.

We currently own four Meta Quest 2 headsets in order to be able to offer events and further develop the Virtuelle Kunsthalle. These do not require any additional equipment apart from the two controllers. This means we can bring our virtual replica to you quickly and easily and make it accessible wherever there is a good, stable WLAN connection. However, as explained above, the Virtuelle Kunsthalle can also be accessed via other VR headsets and various internet browsers. However, we have not yet been able to make the first prototype freely accessible on the Internet. You can find out more about this here.

Click here for the next dates where you can try it out for yourself. And if you are interested in us coming to your school, association or the like, please contact us.

We are currently working on the 2nd prototype and its release, if you are interested in participating, you can learn more about how to do so here.


A white virtual reality headset and the corresponding controllers lie on a counter made of red-brown stone.
We are currently using the Meta Quest 2 for our events. Photo: Kunsthalle Bielefeld
The entire model of the Virtuelle Kunsthalle with sculpture park. Screenshot from the backend. 2023
Virtual replica of the Kunsthalle Bielefeld lobby. On the right is a round cash desk. On the left is a gray avatar that can be moved with arrows. Two text panels and two symbols hover in the room. Digital building elements and setting options can be seen at the bottom and right.
Screenshot of the entry point to the Virtuelle Kunsthalle. First prototype 2023
The corner of a virtual room with a dark parcel floor. You can see a park with a pool of water through a window. On the left wall hangs a small-format painting made up of brightly colored areas. Below that sit three black squares with musical notes on them.
In the 'Painting Disco' of the Virtuelle Kunsthalle, users can choose what music they want to listen to while looking at a painting. First prototype in 2023
A corner of a virtual room. There is a small picture on the wall and three loudspeaker icons below it. A transparent cube with blue edges is placed in front of the wall. An arrow cross can be seen in the center of the cube. There are various acoustic setting options on the right.
This is what an audio zone looks like when setting it up. Screenshot from the backend of the virtual art museum. First prototype 2023
Screenshot of a digital room. Colorful patterns formed by circles and lines can be seen on the wall on the left. One of these patterns also floats on the right in a black-painted corner of the room. A camera floats in the middle.
Screenshot from the first prototype, 2023, photo: Kunsthalle Bielefeld
The screenshot shows a virtual room. Patterns hang on the left wall. The walls and floor in the far right corner are black. An arrow cross can also be seen under text on the right wall. All patterns can also be seen as file previews at the bottom. On the right-hand side is a structured list with the file names.
Screenshot from the backend of the virtual art museum. You can see the media library and all the files that make up this room. First prototype 2023
View of the virtual window front of the Kunsthalle, through which you can look into the sculpture park with its water pool. A control panel is open in the foreground. It shows setting options for the loudspeaker and microphone.
Users who are at the same time in the Virtuelle Kunsthalle can communicate with each other directly via headphones and microphones. First prototype 2023