Professional Sound - August 2017 - Page 30

THE ‘60s REVISITED Immersive Sound Transports Museum Visitors Back in Time L ike many young music fa- natics and political junk- ies, my obsessions grew from a love of the classic rock bands I discovered in high school. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, Cre- dence Clearwater Revival, and the like were the soundtrack to my for- mative years. They awakened me not only to the mind-bending world of rock and roll, but also to the world of politics, protest, and social change. Devouring the biographies of my favourite (often dead) rock stars, it was clear the art of the 1960s and early-‘70s couldn’t be separated from the politics of the era, and so I dug deeper, reading books like Abbie Hoffman’s Steal This Book and The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Though I missed the times by a few decades, the golden age of rock and roll and youth protest transfixed me, and still 30 • PROFESSIONAL SOUND By Michael Raine does. I wanted to be occupying the dean’s office at Columbia University in 1968, or at John and Yoko’s bedside in Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel during the Bed-In for Peace, or shirtless and muddy in the middle of the crowd at Woodstock. Fifty years after the Summer of Love, I was able to get a little closer to those experiences thanks to an innovative exhibition at the Montreal Muse- um of Fine Arts (MMFA). Opened in mid-June and closing on Oct. 9, 2017, the MMFA’s Revolution exhibit ex- amines the “social fabric” of the late-1960s, looking at the intersection of music and politics, along with film, literature, design, and advertising. The exhibition looks at all of the major societal shifts of the period, from the Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam War movements to the sexual revolution, wom- en’s rights, and black power. The stories are told using around 700 objects, including John Lennon’s Sgt. Pepper uniform and the throne-like chair seen in the iconic photo of Black Panthers Co-Founder Huey P. New- ton, in addition to album covers, books, photos, posters, films, consumer products, and more. For the exhibition’s Montreal run, the MMFA’s Diane Charbonneau, curator of modern and contemporary decorative arts and photography, added Quebec- focused content from the province’s late- ’60s protests movements. Throughout the exhibition, visitors are treated to a shifting and carefully-selected soundtrack as they move about. The Revolution exhibition first launched at the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) in London, England, and is curated by the same team that created the widely-praised David Bowie Is exhibition, which launched in 2013 and is still traveling the world, as well as the new Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains exhibition. In addition to the V&A’s curating team of Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh, all three music-centric exhibitions have another key contributor in common: Sennheiser.