Interactive exhibit recreates Paisley Park’s Studio A, offers 3D walk into the Purple Rain cover, and features dives into eras such as Diamonds and Pearls
Prince: The Immersive Experience will launch in downtown Chicago on June 9 at the Shops at North Bridge on the Magnificent Mile. The interactive exhibit created by Superfly in partnership with the Prince Estate offers more than 10 multidimensional spaces that take visitors through the icon’s life, showcasing his musical eras and creative evolution and highlighting his influential sound. Tickets go on sale March 31 at 10 a.m. CT. It will run through Oct. 9 in Chicago.
One room features a way to interact with the Purple Rain album cover in an unusual way. “You’re going to be able to step in in a Purple Rain album cover,” Superfly co-founder Kerry Black tells Rolling Stone. “Where you can get your photo up on the motorcycle. But we’re also doing a full buildout of the entire street scene, right? So there’s going to be the First Avenue club and a bunch of the stores.”
Another space recreates Paisley Park’s Studio A. “We’re doing a partial replica of Studio A, which was his studio where he created all his music from about 1990 on,” Black says. “And in there, people are going to be able to go and sort of play producer and mix stems from ‘Let’s Go Crazy.’” The exhibit will also display a mix of Prince’s original wardrobe and instruments alongside replicas, as well as photographs.
Working in concert with the Prince Estate, Superfly explored several ideas while developing the Experience over the last few years. “They really kind of brought us into his world,” Black explains. “They’ve connected us with a lot of important people that he worked with. And so we can really make sure that it’s authentic.”
The musician’s lighting designer Roy Bennett collaborated with the group to create an audio-visual dance space. Another highlight is a room dedicated to Prince’s Diamonds and Pearls era. “So this will be a more central room where it’ll [have] the giant hand torches from ‘Gett Off’ and the candelabras and diamonds and pearls strings. And so that’s going to be a super fun, immersive area as well,” Black says.
The exhibition goes beyond exploring the magnitude of Prince’s astounding musical prowess, but also emphasizes other crucial facets of his life. “We really think about this as an entertainment experience and you’re going to have fun. But we will have that learning [component] as well,” Black says. “So, we’re going to have rooms around his activity in social justice, and his championing of artists rights and things of that nature.”
While Superfly is known in music circles for cofounding Bonnaroo and co-producing Outside Lands festivals, the organization has expanded into producing intellectual property “experiences” including The Friends Experience and The Office Experience, based on the television shows. Black says this latest effort is “next level,” incorporating more tech and interactive elements.
As for addressing Prince’s storied vault? “That idea was in the original deck,” he says, laughing. “Our hope here is that this is going to be wildly successful and that we’re going to be touring this all around the world… And keep iterating on it and do new rooms for each city and just explore all different facets of his career and his music. We definitely couldn’t do all in one exhibit.”
From Rolling Stone US.