Immersive Museum Exhibit Design at Greenwich National Maritime Museum, London
“If a barge (or boat) could talk, what would it say about the people who sailed in it?” Nick Ryan uses Feonic audio drives to create an immersive museum soundscape.
This state barge was designed for Frederick, Prince of Wales, eldest son of King George II, by William Kent (architect, landscape gardener and painter) and built by John Hall on the south bank of the Thames just opposite Whitehall in 1732. At around 19.2 m (63 ft) in length, it is one of Greenwich’s Maritime Museum’s largest objects.
Nick Ryan (multi award winning sound designer) was asked by the Museum to create a unique soundscape designed to recreate the physical sounds of the boat moving through the water. Ripples sloshing against the wooden hull, oars creaking and drawing the boat through the river. This to the sound of Handel’s Water Music which was performed by an orchestra on an adjacent barge on the Thames, as the Royal River pageant slowly meanders down the river.
“I’m a big fan of Feonic Invisible Speakers and have used them many times to great effect. In this case the devices allowed us to invisibly transform a 10 meter long wooden walkway into a multichannel speaker array. As the walkway runs alongside the boat the sound emanates from the entire surface of its structure. I believe listeners are able to associate sound with the exhibit more directly and more intuitively than if the sound were to be provided by a loudspeaker. Loudspeakers inevitably say to the listener “I am a loudspeaker”, instead we wanted the sound to speak for itself”.
Soundscapes in Art Gallery or Museum Environments
Derived from this wikipedia article.
Soundscapes are sounds that form or arise from an immersive environment. The idea of soundscape refers to both the natural acoustic environment, consisting of natural sounds, including animal vocalisations and, for instance, the sounds of weather and other natural elements. And environmental sounds created by humans, through musical composition, sound design, and other ordinary human activities including conversation, work, and sounds of mechanical origin resulting from use of industrial technology.
Crucially, the term soundscape also includes the listener’s perception of sounds heard as an environment.
Museum Soundscape Immersive Audio Generated by Feonic Invisible Speakers
The key advantage of Feonic Invisible Speakers is the ability to hide speakers with no visible boxes and wires, and no dirty grilles. Our audio drives are attached to surfaces, usually the reverse side, and they sound enable the entire surface. So the wall, floor, cabinet or even glass surface becomes the speaker.
Visitors hear the sound directly from the exhibit, or in this case from the walkway they are standing on. Everyone hears just the right volume so avoiding blaring audio hot spots that are inevitable with even the best traditional loudspeakers.
Dispersing the sound, and the lack of visible speakers, positively impacts the perception of sounds. Leading to an immersive environment in the gallery or exhibition space.
Prince Frederick’s barge tells its own story at the Maritime Galleries, Greenwich SE London between the 4th and 8th June as part of the Queens’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, and will continue telling it thereafter.
Sound Designer / Installer