The Digital Dimensions of “Let’s Get Lost” and “Listening Glass”

Sophie Washington ’19

Sophie Washington ’19

In the summer of 2017, I had the privilege of seeing D.C.-based artist linn meyers’s Our View from Here (2016) at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. At the time, I did not know that a year later I would have the even greater privilege of being part of the team at the Museum of Art involved in working with meyers as she developed Let’s Get Lost, her most recent site-specific wall drawing.

meyers’s commission for Bowdoin added an exciting dimension to the drawing I had seen in Washington: sound! Let’s Get Lost was conceived as part of a collaboration with three talented partners: Rebecca Bray, James Bigbee Garver, and Josh Knowles, who worked with meyers to develop Listening Glass. This interactive sound work, which uses a custom-designed app, invites museum visitors to engage with Let’s Get Lost not only through sight, but also through sound, by using iPhones to “read” meyers’s wall drawing as music.

Developing a tool to share information about these two interrelated works of art and to enable museum visitors to access the app for Listening Glass was essential. Combining my digital skills from my self-designed Digital Media and Cinema Studies major and summer work experience at iBec Creative in Portland allowed me to translate our needs into a website design curated specifically for Let’s Get Lost and Listening Glass.

This past summer, I spent Fridays at the Museum designing a web page for the joint exhibition of Let’s Get Lost and Listening Glass. As the web page design grew from preliminary sketches, I had the opportunity to dive into a work of art that will keep developing even after the exhibition opens.

One intriguing challenge was working with the Museum and the artists to describe how the works informed one another and yet also functioned as distinct creative products. We welcome visitors to tag their photos of the exhibition on social media so that we can showcase them on the website!

Bowdoin students working with the artists during the creation of “Let’s Get Lost” and “Looking Glass” at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Bowdoin students working with the artists during the creation of “Let’s Get Lost” and “Looking Glass” at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art

During the weekend of September 8-9, the four artists invited students to experiment with the Listening Glass app in the Walker Gallery and to share their responses. On Saturday, Seth Chatterton ’19, Amber Orosco ’19 and Darius Riley ’19 tested the app, helping the artists to understand better how to fine-tune it. On Sunday, Camille Farradas ’19, Evelyn Beliveau ’19, Tala Glass ’20, Kinaya Hassane ’19, Meghan Parsons ’19, Charlotte Borden ’19, and I contributed to the effort to push it still further. Working directly with the artists, we used the app in conjunction with Let’s Get Lost and created a collaborative symphony of sounds derived from linn’s lines.

Seeing the exhibition come to fruition on the eve of its public opening is exciting for all of us. It represents real innovation in transforming the audience into creative partners, enabling Museum visitors to interact directly with work in a gallery.

Let’s Get Lost and Listening Glass have special significance to us as students. Digital technology, in conversation with the ancient technology of pigment on a surface, provides the opportunity to leave behind—if only for a moment—the traditional constraints of the gallery. These two works transform us into collaborators. All students will be able to connect personally with this innovative installation and to seek out still new expressive horizons.

 

Sophie Washington ’19

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