The Place You Go to Listen
Is there a place you can go to hear the music created by the earth, the air, and the heavens. There is. But you must journey to the interior of Alaska and visit the Museum of the North at The University of Alaska at Fairbanks. Composer John Luther Adams collaborated with a group of scientists to create The Place You Go To Listen, a room where colors and harmonics change with the outside world. The Museum’s website says “This ever-changing musical ecosystem gives voice to the rhythms of daylight and darkness, the phases of the moon, the seismic vibrations of the earth and the dance of the aurora borealis, in real time.”
I visited The Place You Go To Listen in December. I did indeed listen. The colors were a mix of pink and purple. It was an almost hypnotic experience that drew me back for a second visit. The second time I went in, the quiet bells of aurora activity grew louder as the sun set outside.
Check out this article from The New Yorker which includes the writer’s experience in the installation as well as an interview with the composer. Letter from Alaska: Song of the Earth.