- The Design Museum
- Until February 14th 2021
- £16.30 (concession £12.15)
Electronic aims to be a comprehensive history of dance music, from the creation of the first synthesizers, to acid houses, Boiler rooms, post-wall Berlin techno and everything in between. From LED light spectacles to neon-coloured membership cards and holographic vinyl collections, you will find a lot of fun stuff to see The background music which accompanies the whole experience has some museum goers thumping around while others seem completely impartial and apathetic to it.
The exhibition is extensive, and you can easily spend hours in there trying to gather all the information. I phrase it like that because there is definitely not a shortage of information at this exhibition. Text box after text box, band name after band name, I started feeling like a saturated sponge, not able to soak up more information about music collectives or synthesizers created by college kids. There are a lot of references to eras and artists, and it gets a bit dry after some time if you don’t have previous knowledge about them. Furthermore, the relevance of certain items can remain a bit unclear, like why certain costumes and collectives are on display rather than others.
Another issue with the exhibition; we are in London - a major city in terms of influence for electronic music. However, this aspect is explored very little. Berghain is mentioned and presented at least 3-4 times (including a miniature architectural prototype of it??), but come on, no London venues? And what about grime, drum & bass and garage, three huge electronic genres endemic to London?
Visitors are required to bring their own headphones to the exhibition, there is a lot of information that goes missed without them. They need to be wired as well, so no airpods unfortunately. Because of COVID-19 the museum is not able to lend out headphones, which might make some parts of the exhibition inaccessible to some.
I would’ve also liked to see more of an attempt at involving the viewers in the exhibition. At times it felt like reading a Wikipedia page about electronic music, but in physical form. However, there are a few interactive pieces, and they are excellent. They are clearly what the exhibition has been built up around, and are kind of the few strong pillars holding up a rather weak roof. The audience that would enjoy this exhibition most, is the gen X, that grew up on the birth of electronic music, partying in the 80s and 90s era of Eurodance music, who want to reminisce the good old times.