V&A presents temporary exhibition “DIVA” with new 3D sound headset
The prestigious Victoria & Albert Museum in London is known for its spectacular temporary exhibitions, using innovative AV solutions for their visitor experience. After the successful exhibition “Opera: Power, Passion & Politics” in 2017, where tonwelt for the first time provided an innovative solution for a seamless soundscape with automatic triggering of timed audio tracks, another technical highlight follows for the latest exhibition “DIVA”. A new, completely wireless, all-in-one audio guide with 3D sound will guide visitors through the exhibition!
The exhibitions of the Theatre and Performance Department at the Victoria & Albert Museum are always more than just simple exhibitions: They are statements, shows, singular events that aim at the emotion of the visitors through their exhibits, stories and scenography. They convey knowledge through an alternative understanding of what museums are capable of achieving in a social context, and what – also political – influence an institution can have in civil society. So it comes as little surprise that the Who's Who of the glittering world of show and starlets attended the opening of the exhibition with summer party in the courtyard of the V&A and celebrate with the museum a sparkling ode to diversity, gender equality and self-confidence. At the heart of the exhibition is the believe that the "DIVA" is a political phenomenon without which there would have been no substantial achievements in society, culture and art.
The exhibition traces the history of the first divas of our time: independent, self-confident female artists such as Sarah Bernhardt, who at the beginning of the 20th century was considered one of the most famous actresses in the world and played a decisive role in shaping the idea what a global star could look like. The exhibition takes us through the divas of the 1930s to the 1950s: Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe. Maria Callas bids us farewell from this decade with the aria "Casta Diva" from Bellini's opera "Norma".
A new audio guide with 3D sound leads us through the exhibition
The video of Callas runs on a split video screen and nothing can be heard in the exhibition – without the new all-in-one, hands-free headphones. No cacophony of sounds, no soundspill of annoying jumble of video and media stations simultaneously vying for the visitors’ attention. Because the visitors listens to the soundtrack of the different video screens and the sounds for the case exhibits directly through automatic trigger.
One highlight therefore is the new supraGuide SPHERIC, tonwelt’s all-in-one headphones. The device accompanies the visitors through the exhibition completely wirelessly, all the necessary technology is built into the headphones – even the innovative 3D sound engine.
Another highlight of this system: the floating ear cups. On the one hand, they enable brilliant and powerful reproduction of the audio tracks. The headphones do not sit on the visitors’ ears, but float above them. Unlike conventional headsets, the devices don’t cut the visitors off from the environment, but allow the visitors to talk to friends and listen to sound installations.
The absolute highlight of this innovative audio guide is, of course, its 3D sound, which is used at the V&A at a very special moment: Every 20 minutes, an impressive video show is displayed on the dome of the exhibition building as a takeover moment. The binaural sound is automatically triggered on the headphones. The first reactions from the public and the press have been overwhelming.
The Daily Telegraph gave the exhibition a 5-star rating, writing:
"DIVA is less an exhibition than a son-et-lumière full-body immersion that ingeniously taps into something far more potent; our own memories. Here comes the science bit; visitors wear state-of-the-art headsets delivering 360-degree surround sound that are nothing like the glori ed Walkmans of old. Instead, the headsets are fitted with technology that interacts with sensors on each display, triggering an extraordinary soundtrack as you walk through the space."
Second collaboration between rsf and tonwelt – further alignment of systems
The supraGuide SPHERIC was developed by rsf – a member of the tonwelt group since 2022. The device, which is known at rsf as Confident and is already currently in use at the Hôtel de la Marine in Paris. The new solution fits perfectly into the portfolio of audio and media guides from tonwelt – guiding solutions, with its elegant design and rich technical innovations. Only recently, the system was installed in the Pilsner Urquell Experience – a new experience exhibition about beer in Prague's Old Town. The joint project at the V&A brings the two systems even closer together, as this is the first time that the precise tonwelt triggerPoints have been used to automatically trigger the tracks and synchronise the videos.
Victoria & Albert Museum
Place & Date
audio guide with automatic triggering and 3D sound
Interactive exhibition experiences with video sync on the supraGuide SPHERICat V&A London
Copyright: Daniel Franz | tonwelt GmbH
Exhibition view at V&A Show "DIVA"