Contemporary Artists are Taking Inspiration from Environments of the Circumpolar North to Create Sound Art and Music

The Arctic has its own distinct rhythms. Up here, the sounds of natural forces, animals, and humans come together to create their own kind of music— soundscapes that murmur and boom, throb and hum, crack and cry, rustle and sing. Listening closely to the sounds and silences of the North opens up an intimate and resonant understanding of place.

Featuring work from artists of Alaska and other parts of the US, Russia, Canada, and Scandinavia, Listen Up provides audiences a listening experience and a survey of sound art today. Participating artists include Marja Ahti, Leah Beeferman, Aqqalu Berthelsen, Davyd Betchkal, Matthew Burtner, Foresteppe, Nicholas Galanin, Shawn Greenlee, Merritt Johnson, John Luther Adams, Jeneen Frei Njootli, Pamyua, Silla and Rise, Alex Somers, and Jana Winderen. It also includes a temporary installation by Arne Skaug Olsen and Anders Dahl Monsen.

Ten new commissions will be debuted by internationally recognized sound artists and musicians. These sound pieces are derived from sound data gathered from across Alaska. Visitors may connect to these sounds by patching into switchboards specially designed for the exhibition, can have their own image translated into sound, and experiment with creating their own composition crafted from environmental sound. The exhibition also highlights Anchorage Museum collection objects along with recordings of their sounds. Additional programming, performances, and temporary installations throughout the run of the exhibition present new works and ways of hearing the Northern landscape.

Ranging from acoustic and classical to hip-hop, ambient and electronica, these recordings will also be available in a limited-edition release by the museum’s Unbound Records.

Read about some of the artists and their work

Inverted Worlds – An Interview with Marja Ahti (Tone Glow)

DJs Discuss the Sound of Arctic at NxN Festival (Alaska Public Media)

Whisper of the Wild (New York Times)

How Composer Matthew Burtner is Putting Climate Change into Song (PBS)

The Music of A True Place (New Music Box)

Fermenting Subjects: An Interview with Arne Skaug Olsen (Trondheim Form Lab)


Listen Up is presented with support from: Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and JL Foundation.

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