Sysco Productions

Science Museum - Top Secret: from ciphers to cyber security

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The Science Museum is the home of human ingenuity, with world-class collections of scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe.

Top Secret: From ciphers to cyber security coincides with the 100th anniversary of GCHQ, the UK's Intelligence, Security and Cyber agency who act as expert advisors on the exhibition. 


Weaving through the dynamic array of setwork displays, visitors can explore a variety of themed areas that focus on communication devices, intricate mechanics and intelligence tools. The collection of exhibits are interspersed by audiovisual interpretation that enliven the assortment of objects, allowing their long hidden secrets to reveal themselves to the audience.

Audio narratives, films and animations share insightful facts that bring significant context to these different elements used for deciphering secrets. Audio headphones offer interviews, opinions and topical conversations on related debates.

The unique exhibit ‘Murmur Study’ examines the subject of communication in a new age of technology, and the transformation of the digital landscape that has occurred over the recent years. With such capabilities, comes the associated risks of personal information being collection and resulting data analysed. Created by artist Christopher Baker, 10 printers have been programmed to emit any tweets containing specific emotive phrases. This conceptual installation draws a parallel between the tangled mass of printed words and the quantity of personal information being processed in real time. The continual printing, illustrates the extensive use of digital technology and acts as a reminder as to how much personal information is being processed.

As a touring exhibition, the design scope dictated certain features, ensuring that the AV infrastructure and cabling were easily movable to accommodate future derigging at varying exhibiting sites. The show control and rack was built in to a flight case so that it could be closed and transported easily and safely.

The media playback was localised to the exhibits, therefore required concise integration that needed to be carefully concealed. Additionally, the cabling for ‘Inside GCHQ’ had to be made invisible due to the lack of setworks surrounding these five synchronised LCD displays that are suspended in an asymmetric format.

Conversely and in line with the exhibition subject matter, perspex cases gave visibility to certain aspects of the audiovisual connectivity, to offer an authentic ‘behind the scenes’ reveal of the infrastructure behind the systems technology. With this exposed view, it was vital that all cabling was immaculate to deliver a pristine finish. 

Collaborating directly with the Science Museum, Sysco were able to provide a high quality, efficient and seamless installation including commissioning and show control, despite a limited installation period.