Bowie is back in Berlin! Back in the city where many fans believe the chameleon of pop culture had his most creative phase: Bowie's Berlin Trilogy of the late 1970s, made up of the albums "Low" and "Lodger" as well as his major work "Heroes", is unmistakably influenced by the time he spent in the city divided by the Wall and was mainly recorded at Hansa Studios, near the border strip. In an exhibition curated by London's Victoria and Albert Museum, the life and work of this interdisciplinary artist can be explored until 10 August 2014 at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin. The multimedia staging uses technology from audio specialist Sennheiser to provide excellent sound.
Daniel Sennheiser, CEO of Sennheiser electronic GmbH & Co. KG, commented, "The exhibition's stay of several months in Berlin is one of the highlights of its international tour due to Bowie's close links with the city. And almost 60 new exhibits have been added to the section of the retrospective dedicated to Berlin for the occasion by the international communications agency Avantgarde. The Sennheiser team, with its passion for good sound, is proud to be contributing towards the success of the David Bowie exhibition by giving visitors direct access to the unique sound universe of this exceptional artist."
From Major Tom and Aladdin Sane to Thin White Duke and Ziggy Stardust – the number of personas Bowie portrayed so authentically is legendary and can justifiably be described as having a decisive impact on the style of entire generations. "David Bowie is no ordinary pop star," emphasises Victoria Broackes who, as co-curator along with her colleague Geoffrey Marsh, has had a key role in realising the exhibition and tirelessly brought together exhibits from different provenances. All the effort has paid off. On its previous stages in London, Toronto and São Paulo, the exhibition broke all attendance records and huge crowds are also expected in the German capital.
Event organiser Avantgarde has extended the museum's opening times and has convinced those responsible at the Martin-Gropius-Bau to open seven days a week for the duration of the Bowie exhibition. "We have striven at all levels to make it an exceptional exhibition experience, but until visitors flock to the exhibition, you do not know for sure whether you have actually bet on the right horse," says Victoria Broackes. "It's a fantastic feeling when you see how well the show is being received around the world!"
Of all the aspects that have contributed to David Bowie's remarkable career, the music is always at the heart and in the design of the exhibition, very careful attention has been paid to the audio experience. At Martin-Gropius-Bau, visitors can immerse themselves deeply in David Bowie's soundscapes thanks to technology from Sennheiser. The use of wireless audio guides is included in the ticket price, allowing visitors to explore the exhibition individually at their own pace. Sophisticated technology ensures that the audio clips are always activated in the right place at the right time. Compact guidePORT bodypack receivers, in conjunction with Sennheiser stereo headphones, provide a soundtrack that fits the exhibits perfectly, integrating the audio material seamlessly into the exhibition tour. Visual and audio impressions merge to create a truly impressive symbiosis.
The highlight of the audiovisual exhibition tour is an extraordinary 3D sound installation in which visitors can watch videos of Bowie performing and other footage material while being enveloped in amazingly three-dimensional sounding music played via hidden PA speakers. The 3D experience was created from historic music material, which was available in stereo and in some cases only in mono, via a 9.1 speaker set-up using a special upmix algorithm developed by Gregor Zielinsky, Sennheiser's International Recording Applications Manager. "3D audio incorporates the additional aspect of elevation," says the qualified tonmeister and points to four additional speakers mounted high up above the exhibition, which expand the 5.1 set-up established in accordance with the ITU recommendation. The result is an exceptionally open sound, which envelops visitors "from head to toe" and brings previously undiscovered details of the historic music recordings to light - in a way that not even the most ardent fans have heard "Jean Genie" and other Bowie songs! For those interested, the technical details are available to read online in Sennheiser's Blue Stage magazine, and information is also provided in a series of short videos: David Bowie in 3D-Sound.
"The sound is presented as never before at an exhibition," comments Victoria Broackes enthusiastically. Martin Roth, Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, likewise gave a full endorsement at the press conference scheduled for the exhibition's opening in Berlin: "Without headphones, as a visitor you have only half the experience and I would strongly recommend going through the exhibition with them on." Alexander Böttcher, CEO of communications agency Avantgarde, organisers of the exhibition in Berlin, added, "This is a very elaborate production which is far from ordinary. Without the partners we were able to find, a project of this magnitude would not have been possible. Sennheiser has provided a superb sound experience, which is an integral part of the exhibition."
Berlin is well-known as a great tourist destination and the David Bowie exhibition is another addition to the long list of reasons to visit the German capital. According to Victoria Broackes, "Fans should definitely visit the exhibition in Berlin - extra exhibits have been added that focus more attention on people and places that were of particular relevance to Bowie here in the 1970s. I personally know many people who have already seen the exhibition in London, but who are using the special staging in the German capital as an opportunity to pay a visit to Berlin."
Vorm geven aan de sound van morgen en voor zijn klanten unieke klankervaringen tot stand brengen… Dat is het doel waarrond wereldwijd alle medewerkers en partners van Sennheiser zich verenigen. De onderneming is opgericht in 1945 en uitgegroeid tot een van ’s werelds toonaangevende producenten van koptelefoons, microfoons en draadloze zendersystemen. Met zijn 21 verkoopfilialen en partnerrelaties van vele jaren is de groep actief in ruim 50 landen. Daarnaast telt hij nog eens eigen productiefaciliteiten in Duitsland, Ierland, Roemenië en de VS. Sinds 2013 staat met Daniel Sennheiser en Dr. Andreas Sennheiser de derde generatie van de familie aan het hoofd van de onderneming. In 2017 genereerde de Sennheiser-groep een omzet van in totaal € 667,7 miljoen.