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It’s not history as we know it — it’s big, loud and in your face. But, hey it’s only rock & roll and it’s giving the audience satisfaction. This is Exhibitionism – the title and a great description of the band whose touring exhibition kicked off at the famous Saatchi Gallery in London. Exhibitionism celebrates 55 years of the Rolling Stones, the iconic group formed in the 60s when music fans loved their raw rhythm and blues and parents hated them. And, just like the band, this is no ordinary exhibition. It’s an interactive art experience featuring the band’s iconic costumes, personal memorabilia, album art, original instruments as well as reproductions of their first shared flat, favorite recording studio and a 3-D backstage tour.
The exhibition reflects the band members’ edgy creativity — Mick Jagger was an arts school student and he’s very detailed; Charlie Watts is very gifted in art and design. So, the exhibition had to meet exacting creative and artistic standards. And, it had to showcase the most up-to-date technology and video production that became such a feature of their stadium concerts. As Tony and Thea Cochrane, founders of International Entertainment Consulting (IEC) the organization behind the event, put it, “the design of the displays had to be as colossal as their body of work.”
Innovative and immersive audiovisual sets the tone for the exhibition, projecting imagery onto sensational designer clothes and instruments as architectural features to tell the story of one of the famous bands of the time. LED walls serve as a dynamic background for the bands’ artefacts. Striking cinematic and interactive technologies recreate the loud, pounding experience that is the Stones live. 3-D filming gives visitors an exciting sense of what it feels like to be backstage before heading out to face a massive, screaming audience. This show really rocks.
Just meeting the Stones’ creative demands was a big challenge in itself. Many other would-be promoters had tried and failed to convince the band to put on an exhibition. This one had to be different. It to be unlike anything the art and music world had seen or heard before. So, no pressure then. Electrosonic was appointed to engineer and deploy the complete audiovisual installation. That’s routine for the team, but this was no routine show. There was a long complex design process with many different collaborators and just a short window to prototype, test and install the complex systems.
The displays were to Fifty-five years and still rocking, Exhibitionism takes fans on an immersive, imaginative journey through a lifetime of musical legends. include LED walls, a huge multi-screen welcome show with 50 LCDs of different sizes, interactive and immersive elements and a complex projection-mapped display on a giant model of the band’s logo.
To ensure a smooth installation within the very tight deadline, all major displays had to be tested for proof of concept. To complicate this deployment even more, all of the audiovisual elements had to be designed for easy dismantling and reassembly as the travelling exhibition moved from venue to venue.
Through careful planning, prototyping and stringent pre-testing off-site, the team was able to deliver, install and commission the entire exhibition within a three-week window. To simplify installation and dismantling at each site the system was designed to utilize a single network for control and media download. The result is an innovative, immersive audiovisual experience that meets the creative and technology vision of the organizers and the band.
Exhibitionism has been an outstanding success, attracting thousands of fans of all ages to this unique insight into the five decades of the Rolling Stones. It brings together all aspects of the art and design, sound, film, video, fashion and performance that define the group. Exhibitionism received an SEGD Honor Award for what the judges described as ‘a set list —a performance rather than an exhibition.’
Fifty-five years and still rocking, Exhibitionism takes fans on an immersive, imaginative journey through a lifetime of musical legends.