V&A presents...

THE ART OF MUSIC IN THE DIGITAL AGE: A SERIES OF WORLD-FIRST DESIGNS BY BEATIE WOLFE

This display explores what design for music can mean in the digital age – from a musical jacket woven with Wolfe's music to the world’s first "anti-stream" from the quietest room on Earth.

“Musical Weirdo and Visionary” (VICE) Beatie Wolfe presents a series of album innovations that explore how technology can be used to recapture a sense of storytelling, ceremony and tangibility for music in the digital age. Bridging the physical and digital and reimagining the vinyl experience in retro-future ways, these designs range from a theatre in the palm of your hand, an album as a deck of cards and wearable record “jacket”, an ‘anti-stream’ from the world’s quietest room and a Space beam from the Big Bang Horn.

Wolfe’s latest design is the Raw Space Chamber, which will allow visitors to enter an anechoic chamber and immerse themselves in a ceremonial listening experience, while live AR animations bring the album’s artwork and lyrics to life in real- time. Come hear the sound of silence, a blast from the past, and the music launched into deepest space.

Part of London Design Festival at the V&A

Beatie Wolfe's Exhibited Designs

DEBUT ALBUM...

8IGHT, 2012 – The Vinyl for the Digital Generation

For her debut album Wolfe wanted to put a record (the format she loved) onto a phone (a device now integral to people's listening) and so in collaboration with Design I/O pioneered the 3D Interactive Album App. This app opened up like a record with the liner notes, lyrics, artwork and music. But to give this experience a twist, the Palm Top Theatre was introduced to the release. By slotting your phone into the Palm Top Theatre, it was transformed into a miniature theatre in the palm of your hand and you could watch 8ight's 3D interactive visuals, filmed by Weavers Productions, come to life in a way that recaptured the magic of opening up a record and exploring its artwork

 

Second Album... 

Montagu Square, 2015 – The Musical Jacket

The Montagu Square Musical Jacket is a reimagining of the record jacket and a truly tailored album release for the 21st century. Wolfe recorded her second album Montagu Square in the former home of Hendrix, McCartney, Ringo, Lennon & Yoko Ono, and in the room where Hendrix wrote ‘The Wind Cries Mary’ and McCartney penned ‘Eleanor Rigby’. This live recording was then translated (complete with its ambient sound, resonance of the room and audience applause) into a woven fabric by textiles artist BeatWoven and cut by tailor Mr Fish – who dressed Hendrix, Jagger and Bowie – into the first Musical Jacket of its kind. The Jacket has also been NFC-enabled, allowing people to hear the music of Montagu Square by tapping their phone onto the fabric

Montagu Square, 2015 – The Intelligent Album Deck

The Montagu Square Intelligent Album Deck marked a new intersection between technology and music. The album deck comes as a pack of beautifully printed MOO cards, encased in a box reminiscent of a tape cassette, with each card corresponding to a track from the Montagu Square album and featuring the song’s artwork, lyrics and an embedded NFC chip. Listeners can simply tap the song cards to their phone to instantly play the track and access its content – liner notes, lyrics, artwork, music videos etc – which is being updated all the time, giving the album deck the feeling of a “living” or dynamic vinyl

Photography by Stu NichollsOllie SmallwoodSean Watson


Third Album... 

Raw Space, 2017 - The “Anti-Stream”

Raw Space was released as the world’s first live 360° AR experience, produced in collaboration with Nokia Bell Labs and Design I/O. Combining live 360° stereoscopic video of Wolfe’s physical record stream from the quietest room on earth, with real-time AR animations, the effect was a Fantasia-like live streamed album, which ran continuously for a week with artwork that evolved every time the record spun

“With 'Raw Space', I wanted to create the anti-stream for our current streaming generation and really celebrate the world of the album – its artwork, arc, narrative, music – in a ceremonial and absorbing way that makes the listener feel like they’ve been transported into the world of the album, just like I did opening up a record as a kid.”

Wolfe follows in the footsteps of Andy Warhol, John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg as a collaborator of Nokia Bell Labs’ E.A.T. programme

Raw Space, 2017/18 – The Raw Space Beam

Following its launch from the quietest room in the world, Raw Space was beamed into space via the historic Holmdel Horn Antenna, which was used to prove the validity of the Big Bang theory. Nobel Prize winning scientist Dr Robert Wilson (who discovered Cosmic Background Radiation) made the first update to this Historic National Landmark in 50 years to make sure the music of Raw Space got past the earth's atmosphere and into outer space. The Raw Space Beam was not the studio version of the album, but the raw anechoic version (no reverb, EQ or audio enhancements) recorded in the Nokia Bell Labs Anti-echo Chamber – Wolfe’s idea being that for the first time, raw anechoic sound would enter raw space as a true reflection of our humanity at a time of increased airbrushing, auto-tuning and AI

Documentary made in collaboration with The Mill, with footage taken by Lonely Leap

 

Raw Space, 2018 – The Raw Space Chamber

The Raw Space Chamber tells the story of Raw Space – the world’s first live 360° AR stream – in its new portable incarnation. Inside this gilded chamber, installed by Getov and Steely and wrapped in NASA-grade Mylar linking to Wolfe’s Raw Space Beam and Project Echo, visitors can immerse themselves in a truly magical and ceremonial listening experience, while AR animations bring the album’s artwork and lyrics to life in real-time via a vintage coin-operated binoculars viewport and spinning vinyl

Produced in collaboration with Nokia Bell Labs

Raw Space, 2018 - Album Deck with ArtCenter+

The Raw Space Album Deck is an update of Wolfe’s intelligent album deck of cards format, originally conceived for Montagu Square as a type of digital cassette tape. Produced in collaboration with ArtCenter College of Design (Pasadena, US) and its Acting Chair of Graphic Design Sean Adams, each of the Raw Space song cards have been designed by a leading international artist to reflect their interpretation of Wolfe’s music and her Raw Space Beam. Listeners can simply tap the song cards to their phone to instantly play the track and access its content – liner notes, lyrics, artwork, music videos etc – which is being updated all the time, giving the Album Deck the feeling of a “living” or dynamic vinyl

Raw Space, 2018 - The Universal Light Stream

The gallery is illuminated by The Raw Space Universal Light Stream which charts Wolfe's recent Space Beam from the Big Bang horn and personal history with NASA's JPL, whose lead engineer is advising Wolfe on this display.  

Plumen is proudly shedding light on this pioneering work

 

The Art of Music in the Digital Age at the V&A is a London Design Festival highlight 

Victoria and Albert Museum, Prince Consort Gallery, Room 110 - Level 1

Exhibition runs September Saturday 15th until Sunday 23rd
10h till 18h (Fri 22h)

LinkedIN V&A banner.jpg
 

Wolfe's Collaborators 

Raw Space Album

Nokia Bell Labs     

Nokia Bell Labs is the world-renowned industrial research arm of Nokia. Over its 90-year history, Bell Labs has invented many of the foundational technologies that underpin information and communications networks and all digital devices and systems. This research has resulted in 8 Nobel Prizes, two Turing Awards, three Japan Prizes, a plethora of National Medals of Science and Engineering, as well as an Oscar, two Grammy’s and an Emmy award for technical innovation. Nokia Bell Labs continues to conduct disruptive research focused on solving the challenges of the new digital era, defined by the contextual connection and interaction of everything and everyone, as described in the book, The Future X Network: A Bell Labs Perspective // bell-labs.com

Design I/O     

Design I/O LLC is an award winning creative studio specializing in the design and development of cutting edge, immersive, interactive installations. Design I/O develops installations for events, galleries, museums, exhibitions and public space and specializes in creating engaging, meaningful interaction with the public. With more than 15 years experience in interactive media, Design I/O and its partners continue to push the boundaries of what is possible at the intersection of design and technology // design-io.com

V&A EXHIBITION TEAM

Ivaylo Getov

Ivaylo Getov is an Interactive Producer and Media Artist. He specializes in Creative & Technical Direction and Interaction Design for public experiences using technology to bring people together and have a good time. He is the cofounder and Technical Director of Creative at Luxloop. Ivaylo works with artists and creators to enable explorations in to new media and technology projects, including recent work with Pierre Huyghe at Sculpture Projekte Munster, and Ian Cheng at the Serpentine Gallery. Across both his personal and studio work, Ivaylo has created tech-enabled art and experiences that have showcased at festivals, galleries and museums around the world and been featured by The Verge, Creators Project, Tribeca Interactive Playground, and the New York Times // Website

Amelia Steely

Amelia Steely is an artist and designer based in Los Angeles. She specializes in designing sets, sourcing props, and fabricating objects which set the scene and tell a story. She has worked with artists and organizations including Leon Bridges, Odesza, Google, Rachel Comey, Air Jordan, Motorola, Sony Playstation, and The New York City Ballet. Recently she production-designed the short film Lucia: Before and After which was featured in the South by Southwest and Hong Kong International Film Festivals, and won the Jury Prize for US short at the Sundance Film Festival // Website

Caro Rossdale

Caro Rossdale is a London-based artist and textile designer. She trained at Central St Martins, specialising in weave. She combines stitching and printwork to produce artworks that deal with notions of freedom, movement, structure and fragility in both an abstract and figurative manner

Caro has been Assistant Production Designer for a number of short films. RELEASE (2017), a short drama, was in the official selection for the London Short Film Festival. She is Head Production Designer for a forthcoming short drama, MOTTO (2018), shooting this summer, and will be working closely with Bafta-nominated cinematographer, Arturo Vasquez // Website

Dr. Randii Wessen

Dr. Wessen has been at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 1984.  He is currently the Lead Study Architect for JPL’s Innovation Foundry.  Prior to this, he worked on Voyager, Galileo, Cassini & the Mars Exploration Rovers

Dr. Wessen has a BS in Physics/Astronomy, a MS in Astronautics, & a PhD in Ops Research.  He co-wrote “Neptune: The Planet, Rings & Satellites” & “Planetary Ring Systems” and has NASA's Exceptional Service Medal for his Voyager work.  Dr. Wessen is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society & the British Interplanetary Society and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics. Asteroid 31664 is named in his honor // Website


Montagu Square 

BeatWoven    

Award winning artist Nadia-Anne Ricketts pioneers globally with her fusion of sound and vision by transforming any song or prayer into bespoke statement art pieces in her series of BeatWoven®. Nadia uses her skilfully coded audio technology as an instrument to translate and reveal the invisible sonic geometrics behind the beats and sounds of music, to orchestrate literal tessellated woven pattern formations, allowing for the intangible of song to manifest into an aesthetically beautiful form, which, in turn becomes part of our physical space. The work sits at the intersection of art, craft and technology, connecting us to a new experience of both music and woven cloth // beatwoven.co.uk

Mr Fish     

Michael Fish created a phenomenon in the 1960s with his boutique Mr. Fish, dressing the social elite of London, from royalty to rockstars - including Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and even creating a boxing robe for Muhammad Ali.

Today, Mr. Fish produces a range of beautiful Ready-to-Wear shirts imbued with a whiff of 60s flamboyance. And for those with desire for something dandy, Mr. Fish also offers a fully-bespoke service // masonandsons.com/collections/mr-fish

MOO     

MOO bring great design together with technology as an online print and design company that is passionate about great design and the difference it can make to its customers and the world. MOO launched back in 2006 with the aim to disrupt the trillion-dollar global print industry and make great design available to all by combining professional design with the accessibility and reach of the web. MOO want to set a new standard for print, with remarkable new products that bring great design and uncompromising, high standards to the web // moo.com


8ight

Weavers Productions    

Establishing Weavers Productions on the Sussex coast to make short form film and video. Our location has opened up many creative opportunities from the inspiring places to the amazing local film crews, artists and collaborators. Their work centres on the cinema of attractions and the desire to create visual spectacle. Primarily achieved through in camera techniques and practical effects. An interest in theatrical staging inspired by magic shows and Vaudeville. Creating images in this manner, has resulted in productions that are more textured and organic then would be achieved, if generated solely in a computer // weaversproduction.com

Design I/O     

Design I/O LLC is an award winning creative studio specializing in the design and development of cutting edge, immersive, interactive installations. Design I/O develops installations for events, galleries, museums, exhibitions and public space and specializes in creating engaging, meaningful interaction with the public. With more than 15 years experience in interactive media, Design I/O and its partners continue to push the boundaries of what is possible at the intersection of design and technology // design-io.com

Palm Top Theater

Palm Top Theater is a playful analog extension for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad (and in principle any Smartphone) that converts a 2D display into a layered 3D view. Palm Top Theater is invented by Jitsuro Mase, a media artist, and produced by V2_ and Tom Nagae / DIRECTIONS Inc, a Japanese media production company. It has won the Ars Electronica Festival 2010 Honorary Mention. V2_ organized the Palm Top Theater Exhibition curated by Maki Ueda and workshops to create new content for the device in 2011. Since then the devices have been presented at various art festivals and exhibitions around the world // palm-top-theater.com