I figured I should finally start to catch up with these blog posts; I’ve decided I am going to start with my visit to the ‘Rip It Up’ exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland. Sadly, I was not allowed to take any pictures in the exhibition but I did take notes about my favourite parts so hopefully I’ll remember enough to write about. I was really looking forward to going to this exhibition because it was about the progression of pop music in Scotland; this attracted me because I basically listen to music 24/7. I really loved what this exhibition was about and found all of the information that was given really interesting, but since this blog is meant to be to be for a visual design class, I am going to try and focus on the designs found in the exhibition.

As an interior design student, I was really impressed with the overall design of the rooms within the exhibit. Everyone flowed through the rooms with space for people to stop and read the showcases, sit and watch the films projected on the walls, and there was multiple interactive touch screens with 2 or 3 headphone sets for people to stop to watch old music videos which I thought was a really nice touch. The showcases were for all the different artists containing artefacts like 8-track cassettes, books filled with written lyrics, album covers or posters and even artists’ guitars or outfits worn by them. The exhibition was laid out like a timeline so as you walked through, it went from speaking about artists from the late 50’s to the early 2000’s. They were projecting short documentaries onto some of the walls that were about the artists in that area of the timeline. I remember one of the documentaries that was being shown, was projected across four old-fashioned TV screens that were protruding from the walls; I really liked this design because it was a different way of projecting the films and it was a nice link to that time in the timeline where that kind of TV’s were used. I loved looking at all the old posters for concerts or album covers which I realised is something I don’t see a lot of now. Nowadays nobody buys cassettes or records or even CDs, everything is found on apps like Spotify or YouTube which definitely has its positives and negatives; It’s good because it’s so handy and the entire world of music is at our fingertips. The downside to this is that we sometimes forget to actually experience what we’re doing; The act of walking into a record shop and hunting for a new album is a experience that very few teenagers go through today.

My favourite part of the exhibition was at the very end, there was a long room that had a few benches placed in front of 3 giant projector screens. They were projecting highlights from lie performances by people like The Proclaimers, Annie Lennox, Franz Ferdinand and Simple Minds. After walking around the exhibition for about an hour, my dad and I walked into this room and sat there for about 20 minutes just mesmerised by these performances; the giant screens and surround sound just made you feel like you were in the live crowd.

This exhibition really highlighted for me how far music has come in the last 60 years. I find it so weird to think about how back then their nights out would’ve been to halls to go couple dancing compared to now and me and friends go out basically every weekend to clubs filled with pop music or techno which is very different to the kinds of music coming out back then. However, I was also finding that a lot of the artists’ hit songs were songs that I still listen to today; half of my favourite playlist on Spotify must be filled with songs by Bob Dylan and The Beatles. This made me wonder about the hit songs that are coming out now and which ones are still going to come on in my playlists in 20/30 years.

I really loved this exhibition and would love to go again. All of the little details just made me want to spend the whole day in there. It made me do lots of interesting research into to what kinds of music were popular through all the decades and reminded me of how important music is in our life and culture. In terms of design, the exhibition was really cool and inspiring; from the layout of the room and designs on the walls to all of the fashion and poster designs found within the showcases.

Interior and Spatial Design Student at Edinburgh Napier University