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Pass the Mic – Exhibiting Alaskan Music through Community interactions

Creative Community Engagement Process

Pass the Mic is an experimental immersion into the art of Alaskan sound artists and music creators. From displaying a wide array of contemporary Alaskan genres, modes and styles, visitors also encounter music-making through motion-capture technology, radio waves, remix studio, karaoke and much more. They can also attend live performances by local bands and participated in various music-related workshops.

Community Engagement Goals:

The community exhibition not only created awareness regarding the protection of sounds in nature, but also  designed an ambiance for communicating sounds through interactiveness, inclusivity and connection. Their goal was to utilise the rich northern musical history and combine it with latest technology.


The exhibition depended on the use of technology and computational systems extensively and one of the main challenges faced was to figure out a safe and sustainable method to do so. The curators went through months of planning to come up with each installation and discovered efficient ways of maintaining system functionality throughout the year.

Methods of Community Participation/Engagement

Each installation is dedicated towards engaging science and technology with natural auditory elements. For example, in Sound Garden visitors experience the Alaskan wild through the synchronic blend of animal, plants and earth sounds gathered from the Campbell Creek Science Center. Alternatively there are spaces to experience the history of Alaskan sound. In On Air, visitors encounter radio wave transmission and can listen to old broadcasted news, forecast, cultural content and can even send out personal messages. In Press Play, they can experience a curated lists of music from the 1950s and in the Loop Lounge they can listen to a Alaskan music albums.

The most experimental of all installation was Play the Room wherein visitors could create music with their bodies through the application of motion-cature technology. Developed with information from the Alaska Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the exhibit inspired a fun and creative way of music-making for all. In Remix Studio, similarly, visitors could mix and spin sounds to create unique and personal music


Interactive installations ensures that art is created not just by the artists but also through audience engagement. In Pass the Mic, the audiance participation and involvemented created the kind of community exchange that the curators had hoped for. From children to adults to disabled individuals, the exhibitions ensured that music could generate expressibility.


The exhibition took place at the Anchorage Museum in the West Wing Gallery of the third floor where the experimental installations were set up.


First conceptualised by a group of Alaskan music makers and sound artists, the exhibition was developed in collaboration with local band Portugal. The Man. With a community of over 30 musicians, the experimental playground of sound and music created a space for an all-age immersive experience.


Past the Mic is a year-long on-going exhibition that was inaugurated on Oct 7th, 2022 and is supposed to close on Sept 3rd, 2023.

Overall experience

Pass the Mic has creates a unique space where Alaskans can discover their musical origins and influences, while also bringing forth new creativity and innovation in sound and technology. The exhibition is a beautiful exploration of community engagement and identity formation through auditory experimentation while also being a fun and recreational set of events.

Image courtesy: @anchoragemuseum

Case Study researched by :
Devi Chatterjee (TDLM Research Intern, 2023) 
[English Literature; Calcutte University; Writing/Photogrpahy]


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