Paris (March 6, 2006)–An exhibition currently running at the Museé de la Musique in Paris, John Lennon, Unfinished Music, occupies both of the museum’s temporary exhibit spaces, a combined area of 900 square meters on two levels. Visitors trace events in Lennon’s life through 13 thematic sequences, from his birth in Liverpool to his assassination in New York on December 8, 1980. The music, spoken words, and ambient sounds of the Lennon legacy are reproduced for visitors through a number of systems dispersed through the exhibit, comprising a total of 36 compact Meyer Sound loudspeakers.
Meyer Sound loudspeakers are used throughout a new exhibition John Lennon, Unfinished Music, currently running at the Museé de la Musique in Paris.Creating sounds for the exhibition was a complex task requiring more than six months of advance planning, culminating in three days of mixing and balancing on site. Sound designer Gérard Chiron was the primary creative force behind the exhibition sound. Systems engineer Philippe Wojtowicz assisted Chiron with the on-site implementation. The exhibit’s audio systems were provided by the Dispatch division of the Du Show Group, a multifaceted production technology company.
For primary loudspeakers, Chiron selected UPM-1P ultra-compact wide coverage and MM-4 miniature wide-range loudspeakers. “The MM-4 is fantastic,” said Chiron. “I always use them in my exhibits, because the size is perfect for these sorts of installations. The architect was happy as well. He liked the aesthetic appearance of the MM-4, and the way it could be integrated so that it did not cause people to look for the loudspeakers.”
For Chiron, sound is used less to give information than to add a depth and context that can’t be achieved visually. “It’s about emotion,” he said. “It helps you to better understand what you see, and immerse yourself in the time period.”
As an example, he cites the first room in the exhibition that depicts the imaginative inner world of Lennon’s childhood. A mixture of music and voices evokes both the English culture of the era and the emotional turmoil experienced by the young John, abandoned by his parents and living with his aunt. Chiron’s captivating sonic effects are conveyed through two UPM-1P cabinets.
Perhaps the most challenging design for Chiron was the recording studio sequence, a space encapsulating the Beatles creative peak years of 1965-1970. Here, he employed four UPM-1P units, plus a fifth cabinet in the center, pointed at the studio window to provide sound to visitors who are looking through it into the studio. A USW-1P compact subwoofer, one of three used in the exhibition, provides extended low-frequency response.
For the cinema area, where excerpts from films featuring Lennon and the Beatles are screened, Chiron specified a pair UPM-1P cabinets behind the screen, a USW-1P subwoofer, and two MM-4 units for surround effects.
As an epilogue to the exhibition, Yoko Ono added the Wish Tree room, a place where visitors can meditate on the Lennon legacy and then leave their impressions and reactions on small labels affixed to the tree. For an appropriate audio ambience, five UPM-1P cabinets spaced along the wall carry the sound of wind moving through trees, with realistic low-frequency support from a USW-1P subwoofer.
The museum’s press materials for the exhibit emphasize the importance of sound to its overall impact, saying “Sound is particularly present throughout the itinerary, as both an emotional and psychological vector, drawing us into John Lennon’s imaginary and intimate worlds, inviting us to discover or rediscover his music, his inventiveness, and his constant renewal.”
Meyer Sound Laboratories