Pink Floyd’s founding members, Roger Waters and Nick Mason, made a rare public appearance together at London’s May Fair Hotel for The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains, which opens on 13 May at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.
The friends discussed the immersive experiential journey through Pink Floyd’s world, from high tech audio visual events, objects, surreal landscapes, and the culture explosions that evolve throughout the exhibition.
Waters, Pink Floyd’s bass guitarist and singer songwriter, and drummer Mason met as students at London’s Regent Street Polytechnic in the early 1960s, studying architecture. The pair, together with keyboard player Richard Wright and Syd Barrett, formed the group that eventually became Pink Floyd. Syd was replaced in 1968 by fellow guitarist, vocalist and songwriter David Gilmour.
The Victoria and Albert Museum will host the exhibition until 1 October 2017. This major international Pink Floyd retrospective marks the 50th anniversary of the band’s first album, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn and debut single, Arnold Layne.
The exhibition is anchored by a chronological trip through Pink Floyd’s history, connecting with music, art and design, sound technology and live performance: from their beginnings on the underground club scene in 1960s London to the present day, via landmark albums such as The Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, The Wall and The Division Bell, and their accompanying imagery, stage shows, design and technology.
Every chapter of the Pink Floyd story is represented, with more than 350 objects and artefacts on display, many of them never before seen, including hand-written lyrics, musical instruments, letters, original artwork and stage props, accompanied by objects from the V&A’s collection of art, design and performance. Some of these items had been long-held in storage facilities, studios and personal collections for over 40 years, before being re-discovered.
The entry point into exhibition is a replica of the Bedford van Pink Floyd used as their touring vehicle in the mid-1960s. Also featured is the Azimuth Co-Ordinator, from the V&A’s own collection, the custom-built device used by Richard Wright to pan the group’s live sound, via a joystick, around any given venue. The ground-breaking device played an integral part in Pink Floyd’s theatrical live performances at venues including the Royal Festival Hall and Royal Albert Hall in the late 1960s as well as being used in the recording of the clock montage for Time on The Dark Side of the Moon. Also included are Pink Floyd’s soundtracks for the art-house movies, More, La Vallée and Zabriskie Point.
Pink Floyd’s journey through the 1970s saw them embracing studio technology and using all the resources at their disposal at EMI’s Abbey Road Studio on albums such as Meddle, The Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here. Several instruments used on these albums are displayed here, including David Gilmour’s famous Stratocaster, nicknamed ‘The Black Strat’, which has been used on many Pink Floyd tours since making its debut at the 1970 Bath Festival Of Blues And Progressive Music.
Audio specialist Sennheiser is the official audio partner of the exhibition, enabling captivating audio experiences through its AMBEO 3D audio technology. Sennheiser systems will be used for all audio elements, including the delivery of highest-quality arrangements from Pink Floyd historic audio documents. A perfect fit, as the band has been using Sennheiser and Neumann audio equipment throughout their career, starting with the legendary Sennheiser MD 409. The exhibition will culminate in an upmix of Comfortably Numb from the Live 8 concert – the last time the band played together. This will create an immersive surround sound audio experience using its AMBEO 3D (18.3) technology.
The museum is currently showing an exhibition called,You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966–70, which explores the era-defining significance and impact of the late 1960s upon life today and Sennheiser is also involved.
Back in 2014, the David Bowie exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, was using multimedia technology – including Sennhesier sound equipment – installed by Neumann&Müller Veranstaltungstechnik.