Outside in the green landscape of the August sunshine, the atmosphere in Holland Park in Kensington is peaceful and relaxing, with families walking through the gardens and runners jogging along the paths. Inside the Design Museum, you enter another world, a world that is current closed due to coronavirus, the world of pulsing throbbing nightclubs with young people dancing to the sounds and lights of electronic and techno music.
It is good to see the Design Museum open again after the lockdown and even better that has opened with this new stupendous exhibition, when many museums and galleries are reopening with the same exhibitions they had on when the shutters came down in March.
The Design Museum’s immersive exhibition ‘Electronic: from Kraftwerk to the Chemical Brothers’ takes us back to summers of love, through the history, technology, and design facets of electronic and techno music, from its initial development in the early 20th century, but more particularly from the 1970′s, to cities such as Chicago and Detroit, and then to modern nightclubs such as the Berghain in Berlin, Numbers in Glasgow and the Warehouse Project in Manchester, waiting to be allowed to reopen…..
Being the Design Museum, there is a strong emphasis on design including fashion, graphics, technical, art and even architecture with a rich variety of creative pulsing light and music environments to enjoy, ending up with the swirling mist of a nightclub from Chemical Brothers.
This is an exhibition about technology and design interacting with with youth culture and by coincidence it reflects on the current times. You can feel the passion and release of energy that young people are missing with the current closure of nightclubs, which is perhaps why they flood to beaches in the sunshine, while there is also a reflection on masks, frequently used by performers, going back to the Greek Theatre and the Venice Carnival. Why then, is there such a cultural reaction against them? Is it perhaps that most are ugly and, with a few exceptions, have no creative design input – a missed opportunity here for the Design Museum shop.