Museum Visitors Can Play This Wall Art Like an Instrument

An artist, musician, experience designer and app developer meet for coffee. This multi-sensory installation is the result.
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With patient, deliberate movements, linn meyers spends hours transmuting her individually drawn lines into one of her pulsating drawings or installations. While she plans out expansive roadmaps for her pieces ahead of time, she also leaves herself open to the bumps that will inevitably come up during her process, letting these new movements guide her abstract explorations to new places.

As the name of meyers’ recent large-scale wall drawing, “Let’s Get Lost,” attests, the installation, which debuted this fall at Bowdoin College Museum of Art, is the very intentional embrace of following yet another unexpected fork in the road.

This time around, her distinctive lines don’t just respond to the architecture of the space, but were also tasked with something new: to establish the physical parameters that pull out the invisible sounds embedded in “Listening Glass.” A complementary installation that debuted in tandem with “Let’s Get Lost,” “Listening Glass” was created by Rebecca Bray, an artist and experience designer (whose past credits include chief of experience design at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History); Jimmy Bigbee Garver, a sound designer and composer; and Josh Knowles, an app developer, in partnership with meyers.

If those were a lot of words to digest, the result, a synesthesia-like participatory art experience, is—by design—easy to grasp. Essentially, “Listening Glass” lets you play “Let’s Get Lost” like an instrument. Visitors armed with cell phones download an application created by Knowles to uncover the audible music notes in meyers’ piece. By holding their phones up in the installation, the app can uncover sounds as they explore meyers’ large-scale drawing, which play in concert with sounds already thrumming from speakers set up in the gallery.

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