Hushed tones as V&A goes audio

The Victoria & Albert Museum today launches its first audio show, Shhh… Sounds in Spaces, with an identity and exhibition design by Blue Source.

The Victoria & Albert Museum today launches its first audio show, Shhh… Sounds in Spaces, with an identity and exhibition design by Blue Source.

The London group has also created graphics and print materials, including invitations, banners, leaflets and an exhibition guide for the show, which is the culmination of a two-year collaboration between the two organisations.

‘The overarching concept behind the exhibition is to create a series of dialogues: between fine art and music, between the artists and the spaces, and between the public and the spaces,’ says exhibition co-curator Lauren Parker. She tasked the ten participating artists and musicians – a deliberately eclectic group including former Cocteau Twins lead singer Elizabeth Fraser and Brit Art luminary Gillian Wearing – with ‘exploring the galleries and creating five-minute audio pieces, in response’ to specific spaces or objects.

According to Blue Source creative director Alice Cowling, the challenge was to create a visual manifestation of an audio-based show. The identity revolves around Blue Source-designed LED signage, photographed by Dan Holdsworth.

‘The signs are meant to reflect the images and technology associated with making and playing music,’ explains Cowling. Placed throughout the museum, they feature scrolling electronic text providing details of individual rooms’ soundtracks.

Blue Source has also created a ‘museum within the museum’ visitor centre in the V&A’s Contemporary Space, which features a large-format film production developed with Holdsworth. ‘When visitors are there, they get used to the idea of running around the museum and hearing [sound] tracks,’ says Cowling.

Light Waves Concept and Integrated Circles implemented Blue Sources’ lighting concepts and film production, respectively, and Tonic created the exhibition microsite, www.vam.ac.uk/shhh.

Cowling and fellow Blue Source creative director Mark Tappin are creative leads on the project. There was no pitch.

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