“You say you want a revolution?”
A-level History students recently visited the V&A exhibition, ‘You Say You Want A Revolution? Records and Rebels, 1966-1970’.
The exhibition covers what many see as a revolutionary time for music as well as politics, including the impact of The Beatles, Martin Luther King, the Vietnam War and the rise of consumerism. All of this tied in perfectly with our A-level topic, ‘The American Dream: Reality or Illusion?’
Record covers adorn the walls, mannequins wear Mary Quant, Warhol’s Campbell Soup Can dress, Twiggy’s dresses, Mick Jagger’s stage costumes –all with giant eyes in place of heads in a wonderfully surreal display. A section on the Woodstock Festival is filled with artificial grass and giant bean bags as giant screens play clips from the festival.
Colour plays a big part in the exhibition, from the posters and clothing to the way the rooms are laid out- the ‘swinging 60s’ section has bright orange coloured walls. Carnaby St, the Protest section of the exhibition covering Civil Rights, the Vietnam War and women’s rights, is a claustrophobic black, and consumerism brings on clean white walls.
Throughout the tour, the headset given at the start played interviews and music which changed depending on where we were in the exhibition and in a deliberately chaotic and fragmented way as if to underline the upheaval of the time. In the Protest section interviews were played about opposition to the Vietnam War as a Huey
Helicopter whirled overhead and Creedence Clearwater Revival sang in our ears that they ‘ain’t no Senator’s son’.
The show ended with a look at the future with environmentalism and computing with one of the (last six) original Apple computers on display. As the tour ended we were shown a montage of History from 1970 to the present day with John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ playing in our ears.
Take a look at the following video to get a taster of what the exhibition covered: