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Horniman Museum turns to Electrosonic for new exhibition

The exhibition, which looks at the relationship between Londoners' bodies and what they wear, makes extensive use of AV technology.

London’s Horniman Museum has debuted the exhibition, “The Body Adorned: Dressing London”, with AV support from Electrosonic. The temporary exhibition looks across time and cultures at the multiple relationships between dress, the body and cosmopolitan London. The exhibition was designed by Neill Richardson of Objectives, and uses AV techniques to present new material.

The new exhibition reveals how a diverse metropolitan population clothes and adorns their bodies: Saris, tattoos, fingernails, piercings and scarification are a visible part of today’s London cityscape. How did these cultural adornments become integrated into urban life? The Horniman Museum has combined hundreds of objects from its collections, including adorned figures, early tattooing instruments and headdresses, with video installations and actual wardrobes of London residents to explore why people wear what they do.

“We have had a long and very successful relationship with Electrosonic and were happy when they won the last tender process”, said the museum’s head of exhibitions, Maria Ragan. “We needed a company that could work well with the software developers and filmmaker, and the Electrosonic teams dealt with them very effectively. AV is central to ‘The Body Adorned’ and visitors love it.”

The centrepiece of “The Body Adorned” is The Light Surgeons’ video production, which combines a large projected image that appears to have been shot looking out through a shop window onto a busy street. Electrosonic provided the main screen, overhead speakers and four portrait-format LCD monitors that feature individual characters, who interact with each other and the main display.

Two exhibits take the form of slide shows. One show is comprised of 19th century magic lantern slides from the museum’s collection. The other, “Urban Portraits”, is a video by Paul Halliday of Goldsmith’s College, whom the museum commissioned to work with a group of young photographers and artists exploring clothes and dress style.

Electrosonic also provided touchscreens and overhead sound domes for three interactive exhibits, which explore topics such as “What’s in Your Wardrobe?”

Throughout “The Body Adorned”, Electrosonic was challenged to make maximum use of the museum’s existing equipment inventory so costs could be kept reasonable. The bulk of the equipment needed was already available from the museum and had been used in previous exhibitions, including “Bali: Dancing for the Gods”. Most of the equipment for that 2011 show had been supplied by Electrosonic.