I didn’t have a clue about Bowie, I knew the iconic red lightning face but that is about it. So seeing the ‘David Bowie is‘ exhibition was not really a high priority. But since I am a member of the V&A and I had a spare hour I thought I would go and see what was what.
As dorky as it sounds, my favourite part of this exhibition was the technology. In a normal gallery you have an audio guide, where you key in different numbers to hear about the goods. But Bowie was something else entirely. The audio guide picked up signals from whatever you were standing in front of and automatically synced the audio.
So as you walked past a video of Bowie talking about his writing process, you got his voice in your ear. And when you came across the glorious video to Boys Keep Swinging the music is suddenly in your ear – without you having to do a thing. I can’t believe what a difference this small bit of technology made to my visit.
It meant you were 100% immersed in Bowies head. And it was incredible.
A close second highlight was the final main room. The double height walls have been set up with massive video screens showing videos from live concerts. With the music flowing through your headphones and a benevolent (and youthful) Bowie looking down on you it is as close to a concert time machine as I could imagine.
And from the number of visitors congregated in that room it wasn’t just me who felt that way.
Regardless of your feelings on Bowie – go and see this exhibition. It will give you a new found respect for him as an artist, as well as showing off the masterful V&A curating.
Oh, and my V&A membership card really came in handy. When I arrived there was a line of about 40 people waiting to get in. I just waived my membership card and strutted to the front. Worth paying the extra just to listen to the outraged tutting of those waiting.