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New exhibition explores the power of music on human emotions and memories

A special live date will see Giant Swan, Aja, and Manchester-based talent Abena and Izzy Bolt contribute exclusive audio visual work

Turn It Up exhibition music and emotions

A new exhibition exploring the power of music on human emotions and memories opens next month at Manchester's Museum of Science + Industry. 

Running from 21st October 2022 until 21st May 2023, Turn It Up: The Power of Music is one of the headline offerings of this year's Manchester Science Festival, with a special live edition on Saturday 22nd October, featuring an audio-visual performance by Giant Swan, sound work by Aja and DJ Abena, and digital art from Izzy Bolt. 

In terms of the exhibition itself, the museum is promising visitors a hands-on, interactive and immersive experience to make them think about the relationship between feelings, thoughts, and what we hear, or "music's mysterious hold over us," as per the official description.

Those in attendance are invited to use a specially commissioned "musical playground", allowing them to make music with others, experiment with beats, melodies and harmonies to learn how these affect emotions. Visitors will also be able to "design your own unusual instrument" with the 'Imagine an instrument' interactive element. 

Advancements in technology, and the impact on access to music creation and consumption, also form part of the exhibition, including an AI robot called Haile, capable of improvising alongside human musicians, and MiMU Gloves. Developed by multi-award winning artist Imogen Heap, the wearables have found favour with the likes of Ariana Grande, and allows users to control sound equipment with gestures. 

Elsewhere, people can take a Turing test — named after groundbreaking Manchester scientist Alan Turing — to determine if they can tell the difference between human and machine-made music. And an array of usual instruments will be on display, such as the Pyrophone — an organ powered by flames. 

Tickets for both the Science Festival and ongoing Turn It Up: The Power of Music dates are available now. Following its run in Manchester, the exhibition will go on wider tour, with details of venues to be announced at a later date. 

Another exhibition, curated by Adem Holness, titled Dance Can't Nice: Exploring London's Black Music Spaces, also recently launched, and runs until 24th October.