The Experience Music Project Museum in Seattle will push play on their latest exhibit, Spectacle: The Music Video, Friday, May 16.
The exhibition originated at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati in 2012 and was most recently featured at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne.
“We’ve wanted to do an exhibit on music videos for years,” EMP curator Jason Emmons said. “Then this came up as a travelling exhibit and we thought, ‘Oh, this is a perfect time to do it.’”
Perfect in that they were able to add a bit of local flavor courtesy of the biggest hit makers to come out of the Pacific Northwest in quite some time: rap duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
“To be able to feature them was huge for us,” Emmons said. “They’ve understood how important music videos are and what they can do. Ryan Lewis has this real love of technology and for them, they see it as another creative outlet.”
The duo’s presence is heavily felt throughout the exhibit. As visitors walk up the stairs, they are immediately greeted by the sight of the pair’s now iconic “Thrift Shop” attire; scooter included of course. Two of their MTV Music Awards are on display, along with a variety of costumes and props from the videos for “Same Love,” “And We Danced” and “Can’t Hold Us.”
Also included is a large map of area locations where the rap group has shot videos
“We’re also going to have a video ready by Friday that will be a behind-the-scenes look at how they create their videos,” Emmons said.
Of course, Macklemore and Lewis are only a piece of the larger video story. The exhibit, with more than 300 videos looping throughout on various screens, goes a long way to displaying the medium’s evolution.
“The exhibit is really comprehensive. It essentially goes from the start of what we now consider to be the beginning of music videos up through the YouTube era,” Emmons said.
Among other highlights sprinkled throughout the exhibition include the paint guns and jump suits used by OK Go in “This Too Shall Pass,” original illustrations from a-ha’s “Take On Me,” and a collection of props used in videos made by director Michel Gondry.
Being that it’s the EMP, there’s a fair bit of interactivity involved as well. Visitors can manipulate two different Arcade Fire videos through motion capture technology. And they can contribute to an ongoing crowd-sourced Johnny Cash project and even take part in the “Thrift Shop” video courtesy of the facilities On Stage setup.
Spectacle: The Music Video will open with a live performance by OK Go lead singer and front man Damian Kulash as well as some presently unannounced guests. The evening’s events run from 7-11 p.m. Tickets are $25, $18 for EMP members and $12 for youth 17 and younger.
‘Spectacle: The Music Video’
Where: The Experience Music Project Museum, 325 Fifth Ave. N., Seattle (at Seattle Center)
When: Opening, Friday, May 16
More Information: empmuseum.org