Art + Music: Making Connections through Experience


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  • While visiting the Space Needle in Seattle, my husband and I happened upon an unusual architectural structure.
  • It was made from industrial materials, such as steel, with visible bolts. In an interesting juxtaposition, the industrial materials took on unexpected organic transformations with every viewing angle and every turn.
  • Curious glazes and color combinations engulfed the structure…transforming from warm coppers to electric magentas and striking blues. Quickly I noticed it’s reflective nature…not just it’s ability to reflect it’s surroundings,
  • …but also it’s ability to reflect upon it’s surroundings making interesting patterns and designs. Intrigued by the exterior, we decided to figure out what this structure was.
  • To our surprise, this structure was the home of the Experience Music Project and the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. Being avid music lovers and closet SCI-FI fans, we immediately ran for the nearest entrance.
  • As if the general name of the museum was not enough for me, imagine my surprise when I discover my two favorite things in the world of pop culture were under one roof: (CLICK) the music of Jimi Hendrix [one of the greatest, if not THE GREATEST, guitarists of all time] and (CLICK) artifacts from BattlestarGallactica [a science fiction intergalactic tv show which began in 1978 and was revived in 2003].Seriously…Jimi Hendrix and BattlestarGalactica, you might ask? Yes…
  • As you walk into the Jimi Hendrix exhibit at the EMP you are welcomed by his musical heritage, complete with photos of his military service and the photographs and artifacts that warrant his pop culture status. Intermixed within the timeline were headphones that you could pick up and listen to his music or commentary regarding his legacy.
  • You could even communicate your thoughts about aspects of Hendrix’s legacy in a binder within the exhibit.
  • One of my favorite parts of the exhibit was Hendrix’s interactive composition journal. It contained digital representations of his handwritten journal in which he penned some of his most famous songs. Within the journal, you could use the touch screen to explore the lyrics and musical composition.
  • Leaving the space, you are engulfed by Hendrix’s guitars, even the ones that met an untimely demise by being crushed on stage.
  • As we walk upstairs to the science fiction exhibits, you might be wondering how this all connects…Jimi Hendrix and BattlestarGalactica, seriously? And art fits in where exactly?
  • Oh yes, my friends…welcome to the artistic world of BattlestarGalactica. Here you can see a visual diagram of both the 1978 and 2003 series. The premise basically surrounds around a society of humans that are having an intergalactic war with the Cylons, machines that they created which have decided they don’t want to be slaves anymore.
  • The exhibit showcases pre-production sketches, scale models of the ships, costumes, interactive exhibits where you engage in socially charged scenarios from the show. It truly is a feast for the eyes of anyone, regardless if you are a fan or not.
  • However, fans can immediately recognize the symbols that abound with this SCIFI world of BattlestarGallactica…A search for meaning…in the form of searching for a world called Earth.One of the characters, Kara Thrace, fits in with a prophecy which leads her to engage in creative stretches of painting and composing music…This is one of the abstract paintings that the character paints after a bout of nightmares…strange symbols, repeated color patterns.All of which appears to make no sense until a pattern begins to emerge…
  • And wouldn’t you know it…there is a connection to Jimi Hendrix. [CLICK]The patterns within the music that Kara keeps repeating manifests as the course toward finding Earth.More familiarly, the musical patterns are what we know as “All Along the Watchtower”.Originally written by Bob Dylan in the 60’s, the Jimi Hendrix version is the most well-known.Several musical historians point out that the lyrics echo biblical sentiments, a search for meaning…The BSG musical composer mixed multiple stylistic versions of the song together, which became a thematic motif as well as a plot element of the show. The lyrics were frequently referenced in dialog during many episodes, and with the final scene of the series‘ last episode playing out to the Jimi Hendrix version of the song.As a fan of both the show and Jimi Hendrix, I have to say that my jaw hit the floor when I first heard this musical pattern and lyrical prose roll through the pivotal onscreen moment.
  • Art + Music: Making Connections through Experience

    1. 1. Visual art+ Music[makingCONNECTIONSthroughEXPERIENCE]<br />By Shaunna Smith<br />ARE 7315, Spring 2011<br />
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    17. 17. Art + Music: Implications for K-12 Art<br />INFLUENCES ACROSS ARTISTIC REALMS<br />Looking at the work of Kandinsky or Klee, students can see how the music was visualized within their works.<br />Activity: Illustrate a song<br />Consider:<br />Critical analysis of the lyrical text<br />Symbolic considerations of the meaning<br />Visual interpretations of the musical components<br />Socially charged political metaphors<br />Kandinsky: Composition #8 (1923)<br />Klee: Instrument for New Music (1914)<br />