Exhibitionism - The Rolling Stones

Imaginative AV enhances a tribute to the Rolling Stones
London, UK

Exhibitionism – The Rolling Stones temporary exhibition, started its world tour at the Saatchi Gallery, in London from 5 April – 4 September 2016. The exhibition explores every facet of the band from the sixties until 2016. It includes artwork, clothes, performances, instruments, recordings, unseen films and photos, and rare objects that have been assembled to tell the story as never before. Exhibitionism is originated and produced by iEC (International Entertainment Consulting). The exhibition makes extensive use of audio-visual support both to show archive material and to enhance the displays. Fray Studio produced the video content, and specified the show system. Electrosonic was appointed to engineer and install the complete AV installation under a direct contract with iEC.

There were three principal challenges with the design and integration of the audio-visual systems. First was the need to take into account that it is a touring exhibition; second that there was only a three-week installation “window” during which the entire exhibition had to be delivered, installed and commissioned; and third that key elements of the exhibition, notably projection mapping and a huge multi-screen show required proof of concept prior to delivery to site.

With only a couple of exceptions all media playback equipment is networked and sited next to the display it serves, requiring only a single network (CAT 5e or CAT 6) cable to be used both for control and media download. This greatly simplifies re-installation at new sites. The short installation time demanded the services of Electrosonic’s highly experienced project management, engineering and installation team, who apart from ensuring on time and on budget delivery had to contend with a long and complex design process with many collaborators.

Galleries 1 & 2 have the joint title “Ladies and Gentlemen”. Gallery 1 is billed as “This cherry red, hypnotic room and introductory gallery traces the band’s enormous impact on global touring and their vast artistic output”. One wall carries projected images illustrating the cumulative touring destinations and audiences, the opposite wall similarly summarises the published output of the band.

A spectacular display of 50 LCD screens, of different orientation and sizes is the feature of gallery two, immersing visitors in a fast-paced film exploring significant moments in the Stones’ history. Guests see a variety of absorbing film footage and images from concerts, news clips and newspapers, shown on individual or over a range of screens. Overall, Electrosonic installed nearly 70 LCDs throughout Exhibitionism. LED walls are also used as a backdrop for an extensive range of sensational designer clothes, enhancing the visitor’s visual experience and impact.

Gallery 3 “Edith Grove – The early years”, covers the 1960’s and includes a re-construction of the band’s first flat in Edith Grove, where audio helps to convey the conditions that they endured.

The Rolling Stones’ iconic tongue and lips logo is recreated into a 2.5-metre wide, three-dimensional model for a projection mapped presentation in the “Art & Design” gallery. The giant sculpture, created by Paragon Creative is transformed into an entrancing display of flags and mesmerising colours and images. Four Panasonic 3000 Lumen ‘Solid Shine’ projectors and one 6500 Lumen single chip projector are required to give complete coverage of the model, along with a 7thSense 6-channel server.

The “Recording” gallery shows a studio set-up and makes effective use of floor to ceiling projection. One viewpoint is served by ten interactive stations equipped with BlackBox headphones and Apple iPads to allow visitors to select and listen to recordings of the time. A second interactive exhibit “Music and Lyrics” with eight stations, allows visitors to experiment with the way classic Rolling Stones tracks were mixed. Visitors can adjust the levels of vocals, drums and other instrumental elements that construct their songs.

70 outfits worn by the band and designed by famous designers are on display in the “Style” gallery. The exhibits gain visual impact by the use of three LED displays as a backdrop for the sensational clothes. These are of medium resolution, 3.9mm pixel pitch.

The “Rare & Side Men” gallery reveals over 50 rare Stone’ objects from backstage and touring paraphernalia to unseen stage designs and footage from photo shoots. Tribute is also paid to the musical talents that have collaborated with the Stones’ over the years. Here, four Samsung DM65D displays are wall mounted in portrait mode to display video content via a Brightsign media player.

The exhibition ends with a recreation of the band’s backstage environment which then leads visitors into a highly immersive 3D experience. Visitors are engulfed with excitement as they see the Rolling Stones perform ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ live at Hyde Park. The 3D, never seen before show, makes visitors feel as though they are in the audience watching the Stones perform, making for an impressive climax to the exhibition.

The 3D production is run from a 7thSense Delta Nucleus media server and utilises 3-chip, 12,000 Lumen DLP projectors from Panasonic, fitted with polarizing filters and mounted in a custom rigging frame to allow double stacking. The polarization preserving screen is from Harkness Hall. Viewing glasses are from RealD.

Audio plays a significant role throughout the exhibition, particularly in the opening show and the finale. In the first case, Electrosonic installed a JoeCo BBp1P multi-channel digital audio player, fed to a Behringer X32 rack mounted digital mixer. A Behringer X32 is used for the finale but here the source is from the media server. Power amplifiers and loudspeakers from KV2 are employed in both cases to really capture the high intensity of the fans and the music from the Rolling Stones.

“The end result was a great success. Electrosonic met the requirements of both the project and iEC to deliver effective and robust audio-visual systems integration.” Ki McGinty, Project Manager, iEC.

The innovative and highly immersive AV technology really captivates visitors as it tells the story of one of the most iconic rock and roll bands of the last century. Exhibitionism’s AV systems are highly practical and robust to enable easy dismantling, relocation and assembling in the new venues across the world.


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