LONDON, Sept 8 — Counterculture and hippy life are served up in a visual and musical blend at London's Victoria and Albert Museum, where a new exhibition delves into the swinging sixties.
“With this exhibition we explore the era-defining significance and impact of the late 1960s upon life today,” says Victoria Broackes, curator of the exhibition “You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970,” which opens tomorrow.
“The years from 1966 to 1970 — just 1,826 days — undeniably shaped the world we're living in today, from global civil rights, environmentalism, consumerism, to neoliberalist politics,” she adds.
Sporting a headset picked up at the exhibition entrance, each visitor embarks on a journey through the destinations which defined the era. They include San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood — the epicentre of the hippy movement — London's Carnaby Street, and Woodstock Festival in upstate New York.
One room is entirely dedicated to Woodstock, complete with fake grass and screens showing concerts to recreate the hippy festival vibe.
The exhibition also turns its attention to more serious subjects — opposition to the Vietnam War and the US civil rights movement.
A soundtrack featuring The Who's My Generation and Imagine by John Lennon ensure full immersion in the exhibition — away from modern distractions.
“In a world before mobile phones and social media, for young people, music in the 60s — which reflected the huge upheavals that were going on — was one of the ways you could communicate and that helped create a community,” says Geoffrey Marsh, another of the exhibition's curators.
But the overall experience is undoubtedly visual, with 350 objects including photos, posters, magazines and LPs, with lines from “protest songs” along the museum walls.
Suits worn by John Lennon and George Harrison, a costume made for Mick Jagger, and shards from a guitar shattered onstage by Jimi Hendrix, all help fuel the rebellious atmosphere.
The ticketed exhibition closes on February 26, 2017. — AFP