The exhibition Pink Floyd Their Mortal Remains at the Victoria and Albert museum in London is more of a multimedia experience than a simple display of artefacts. Then I’ve never been to an exhibition that includes a show with lasers, Vari-Lites, multiple projectors and smoke machines or display based a two-story section based on the iconic Wall concert staging.
The sound design is exceptionally well done relying on individual headsets rather than a cacophony of competing noise had speakers been used. Right from the start Pink Floyd’s music is used to great effect. Using individual headsets allows videos to be presented alongside the music with a real clarity right round the exhibition.
Working through the band’s career in chronological order we get the Floyd’s early success through Syd Barrett’s struggles with fame and LSD to Dark Side of the Moon then the Wall on to the split with Water’s then Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Endless River. Old red phone boxes are used to display items from the time to add context to the main exhibits. Composition, instruments, album cover design, inflatables, staging and stage lighting all get picked out for attention along the way. There are even three of the petals from one of the mirror balls used from (I think) the Pulse tour.
At the end is a light and sound experience recapping high points of Pink Floyd’s career through recordings of live performances using an impressive array of lasers, lights and video projection. As with the rest of the Their Mortal Remains the sound in the final room is well done pitched at a volume that allows it to be enjoyed without being too loud.
The V&A really do know how to put on a spectacular exhibition.