Behind the Scenes at Friday Late ‘Sound It Out’

January’s Friday Late ‘Sound It Out’ was an incredibly successful evening with 5812 visitors in total and many more who were sadly unable to get into the Museum as we reached maximum capacity by 8.30pm – a first in the history of Friday Late. 

The event looked at music’s relationship to technology. The projects we showcased represented a breadth of work that explored different technological design processes, and the ways in which they can be used to manipulate your experience of music.
The evening’s programme was highly ambitious – I was feeling a little out of my depth but excited to work through all the technical challenges that a music and technology evening would bring. 
Discussions with our first participant Boiler Room began back in the summer of 2013. We wanted to work with them in some capacity as we were particularly interested in the way in which they live streamed underground music shows, and how much this had become a global phenomenon. We wanted to provide visitors with a unique experience of Boiler Room, focusing more on sound installations and work that was inspired by the Museum. We were fortunate to also have the likes of PAN and Rival Consoles involved, including Eli Keszler who flew over from New York for the event.
PAN setting-up for the evening. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Also involved were London Modular. We visited their studio back in December, and were inspired by the ways in which they made analogue technology come alive through improvisation. 
Simon from London Modular showing his synthesiser. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Obviously, there were loads of other artists involved in the evening, including architecture collective Emptyset, Human Resource System and Tom Mclean to name but a few. It was great meeting with all of them and discussing how best to show their work on the night. 
Emptyset: Medium, John Madejski Garden. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
There’s a ton of prep work before a Friday Late takes place – my days are taken up with everything from meeting artists, to agreeing spaces with V&A curators, drafting texts, agreeing tech equipment, putting together AV/install/de-install schedules, project meetings, managing the budget, commissioning the artwork for the programme wrap and plenty more.
The day itself was pretty hectic – everything needs to be installed and de-installed on the day itself, whilst the Museum is still open. Starting at 8.30am, we began the installation of the Emptyset set in the garden – a huge LED outdoor screen that came in 0.5m sections. Not the most fun part of the day, hanging around in the cold and rain.
6.30pm comes around quicker than you think, but we pretty much had everything set up, ready to go. I spent the rest of the evening running around solving problems and checking on all the events.
Towards the end of the evening I found myself thinking about what I needed to do for our next Friday Late – Hackney Wick Takeover, which is sure to be another very exciting night. Hope to see you there!

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