Kotzebue, Alaska in 2022. Photo courtesy of Jared Coffin

Experiencing the Sounds of Life in the Kotzebue

February 2024

Portait of man with thin wire framed glasses and a red mustache.
Artist and Composer Jared Coffin

Kotzebue Sound is a sound installation created using field recordings from Kotzebue, AK that are mixed, interpreted, and transposed to create a sonic representation of artist Jared Coffin’s personal experiences while living in this Arctic city through the early months of 2022.

As part of Coffin’s residency with the Anchorage Museum, this soundscape will be broadcast across the museum’s lawn during the month of February, 2024. During this installation, museum visitors are prompted to listen to the sounds of Kotzebue and consider several themes, including our role as humans in shaping the sounds of a place—and the role that sounds take in shaping us.

As listeners engage with this immersive audio recording, they are invited to contemplate a series of thought-provoking themes and considerations revolving around the relationships between sound and place.

Listen to the full soundscape here:

How much of Kotzebue has been brought to Anchorage's bustling urban environment through these recorded sounds? What does it mean to have the sounds and the place not connected? 

New sounds can challenge us, comfort us, or teach us new perspectives. What does it mean to be Alaskan if these sounds are unfamiliar?

Does sound play a role in how are we define place – state, region, people, the North?

About the Artist

Man with heavy clothing and goggles waves on the tundra.
Coffin on site in Kotzebue, 2022.

Jared Coffin is a composer and sound artist, who’s music is representative of and influenced by specific place, space, and time. His recent projects engage the interconnection between nature and humanity. Coffin's work takes influence from people and places, then infuses the cultural, social, and political context of the time, to create music and sounds that represent, reflect, and examine. This process forms structures, atmospheres, and experiences for future audiences and performers to find meaning and understanding through organized sound. His recent projects engage the interconnection between nature and humanity. This takes place in the metaphorical (humanity’s place in nature), the tangible (the management of nature and its resources), and the sonic (the polyphony of natural and human-made sounds). 


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