In a post-lockdown London, the closest thing you’ll get to a nightclub for a while is The Design Museum’s Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers exhibit. The first major exhibition to open in the UK since the lockdown, The Design Museum explores electronic music through sound, lights, machines, graphics, and strategically placed headphone jacks where visitors can plug in and listen up. Now, if only we in the U.S. could travel to go see it!
The exhibit’s main focus is to examine how electronic music has fundamentally reshaped the way that we hear the world. Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers transports visitors from the museum to the alternate reality that is electronic music, through the genre’s most notable people, art, design, technology, photography, and sounds. The exhibit even celebrates 50 years of Kraftwerk with a recording of their 3D show. Other areas are designed to mimic the experience of a live show with a number of different interactive elements.
Electronic features over 400 objects, including Keith Haring-designed club flyers, a video of Björk as a robot, and relics of dancefloors from Detroit to Chicago, Paris, Berlin, and the UK. The exhibition also showcases some of the early pioneers of electronic music, including Daphne Oram, the seminal BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Musicians like Frankie Knuckles, Jeff Mills, Juan Atkins, and Kevin Saunderson also make appearances.
Amidst the large-scale images of rave culture by Andreas Gursky, a display of iconic DJ Masks and fashion, and a sound-reactive visual installation created specifically for the exhibition by 1024 Architecture, fans of electronic music can lose themselves in over 50 years of music history. It’s safe to say there’s far more here than one can digest in a single visit, and fans can dip easily in and out of exhibit rooms as their whims dictate.
Modifications for a post-COVID viewing experience have been made throughout the exhibit. Most notably, visitors must abide by a one-way system, timed entries, and a limited admission capacity. Electronic is slated to remain open until February of 2021… hopefully some of us will get to see this amazing exhibition before it’s gone. The good news is, for those of us who can’t make it to London, the exhibit features a bespoke audio history that has been mixed by the French DJ Laurent Garnier, and it’s available on The Design Museum’s website now!