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Shhh! V&A 11/07/04

From: angelina
Category: Exhibitions
Date: 11 July 2004


Ten artist have responded to rooms and spaces in the V&A and produced a series of sound installations and music. This is transmitted by audio equipment (£20 deposit needed) which you put around your neck, as you enter the spaces a sensor triggers off the accompanying sound piece.

It's a very innovative way of taking a general tour around the V&A, as it makes you aware of the surrounding architecture and layout of the building as well as the pieces on display. I did find it difficult to work out whether I should be listening or looking, the pieces that seemed to work best were the ones which were less complicated, so the aural and the visual became one experience on an unconscious level. For example, David Byrne's pieces based around the hidden parts of the museum seemed to work as they suggested certain associations, whereas some works by others seemed too demanding, so you ended up paying full attention to the music and you were less aware of what you were looking at. Gillian Wearing has cleverly avoided this by recording an interview of an employee in response to a particular room. My favourite room was the last one, Cornelius has made a piece of music in response to the Glass room. The music is beautiful, but not so intrusive that it doesn’t stop you from enjoying the act of looking at what's on display. Feels like you are surrounded by delicate, beautiful crystalline things….which you are!

I really enjoyed this show, although the one thing I must say is that the map is confusing, the illusion is somewhat broken when you find yourself trailing from one room to another with other lost souls, trying to work out where to go next! But perhaps that's the whole point, that you discover areas by accident. V&A describes this exhibtion as a "sonic journey" - and journeys are never that straightforward, even when you think you know where you are going….

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