13.09.16

Sennheiser powers the revolution at the V&A museum

You say you want a revolution? Record & Rebels 1966-70' exhibition at v&a museum, london
Photo: Lucy Hawes

Following on from the success of 2013’s ‘David Bowie is:’ exhibition was never going to be easy for the V&A and Sennheiser, yet the museum’s latest offering effectively transports museumgoers back to the most influential moments in music and politics of the 1960s with 3D audio technology.

On September 8, 2016 the Victoria & Albert (V&A) museum hosted a preview of its latest music-themed exhibition entitled ‘You say you want a revolution? Record & Rebels 1966-70,’ running until 26 February, 2017 at the London attraction. An exploration of all things music, fashion and politics, handwritten lyrics from artists including the Beatles, iconic costumes and memorabilia are carefully interposed with AV technology across six sections of the exhibition.

Whilst projection screens positioned above the exhibits play their part in recreating the period, integral to the museumgoing experience is audio. Guests follow the exhibition accompanied by a Sennheiser guidePORT audio triggering real-time stereo feeds flickering from the period’s most iconic songs, snippets from speeches from anti-censorship movement and famous advert jingles. 750 receiver units are deployed in total in the museum.

The system was designed by Norbert Hilbich, who worked closely with sound designer Carolyn Downing.

The sonic experience culminates in the penultimate part of the exhibition. Here museumgoers enter a large space featuring three projection screens playing a 25-minute compilation of Woodstock festival from 15 to 18 August 1969, featuring artists such as Jimi Hendrix, powered by a 14.1 AMBEO installation. The large-scale projection and 3D audio technology is accompanied by a prosthetic grass floor and music equipment and costumes from the festival to recreate the live concert atmosphere.    

“It’s absolutely fascinating to see the impact of sound in museums. Apart from actually lifting the music, I think it relaxes people in a way that you don’t commonly see in other arenas,” said Geoffrey Marsh, who co-curated the exhibition with Victoria Broackes following on from their David Bowie collaboration.

Following its run at the V&A museum ‘You say you want a revolution? Record & Rebels 1966-70’ will tour internationally.

Read more about Sennheiser’s focus on 3D audio in our interview with Daniel and Andreas Sennheiser here.