The sounds of Science 

Jerrod Smith and Phil Danner’s Contextual Relations

As director of Science Museum Oklahoma’s Satellite Galleries, Scott Henderson wants to take art in Oklahoma City into a whole new dimension.

Eschewing the typical “pictures on the wall” or “sculpture on the floor” style of exhibition, he wanted to create something that would be a total sensory experience. A trip to Make magazine’s popular Maker Faire in New York City provided him with the inspiration he had been seeking.

“The Maker Faire is a group of painters and hackers that kind of take things that are already known and reform them. It’s full of innovative thought and experimentation,” Henderson said. “I saw some amazing pieces that inspired me to have artists come up with their own auditory sculptures, because art’s not just about visualization. It can be about a lot of things. It can also be audio. Many people don’t understand that.”

The resulting exhibit, Soundscapes, opens Saturday at the Satellite Galleries, which Henderson said are dedicated to “merging science and art and exploring how they correlate and show how close they fit together.”

“I gathered a group of artists in the community that I know do outstanding work and gave them a task: to create a sound sculpture. A sound sculpture being a sculpture that produces sound or music that produces mass,” he said.

Ten of the 11 Soundscapes artists are from the metro, including Christie Owen, Dustin Ragland, Dylan Bradway and Josh Heilaman. The 11th, from Connecticut, Henderson met at Maker Faire.

“We have everything from kinetic [to] digital,” Henderson said. Of Christie Hackler’s A Snake in the Grass Is Better Than Two in the Bush, he said, “It’s composed of metal cut to look like the prairie lands, and there’s a foot pedal that you press on the head of a snake, and it looks like the grass is moving. It’s a very kinetic sculpture.”

For him, Soundscapes lives up to the venue’s idea that art and science can peacefully co-exist, but said he’s most proud of how different the exhibit is than anything else in Oklahoma City.

“Most art galleries that you go to ... they kind of find an artist with a portfolio, and they choose that artist accordingly as to what they want to present,” Henderson said. “But in this case, I gave these artists a challenge, a task. You get to see the development. You get to see what they’ve had to work on over the last five months and how great these pieces really are.

“And hopefully, you’ll learn something, too.”

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