Thanks to services like iTunes, Spotify and Pandora, most people have given up the quest of discovering new music and instead chosen to depend on ready-made playlists or recommendations made by others. Now thanks to the "Listening Tree", music lovers can re-discover the pleasure of unearthing their own musical gems.
Located in the courtyard of the Bunkhouse Saloon in downtown Las Vegas, the permanent installation that was unveiled on August 25th, is the brainchild of George Zisiadis. The San Francisco-based artist who specializes in quirky urban art projects wanted to provide listeners a unique experience where they could escape from their hectic lives and also find themselves through the songs they connect with.
The "Listening Tree" features 15 headphones dangling from the branches of a large tree inside the Saloon's courtyard. Passersby are encouraged to put a pair on and rock out to a random song. Staying true to his mission of creating musical spontaneity and serendipity, Zisiadis ensures that each set of headphones belts out a different tune. This encourages visitors to prance around from one headphone to the next, sampling multiple genres. Given that Zisiadis's goal is to create a sense of fleetingness and nostalgia, the songs that play are not listed in most mainstream outlets, giving listeners a chance to truly discover new music.
The only catch is that since none of the songs can be downloaded or even have names, the only way listeners can hear songs they fall in love with, is by visiting the "Listening Tree" over and over again! So far, this unusual way of discovering music has been a big hit with visitors. Its success can be largely attributed to the fact that the experience is both social and personal. One can visit the tree with friends. But as soon as the headphones are on, each member of the group can enjoy the rhythm and lyrics of the song of their own choice.
This is not the first unusual urban installation created by Zisiadis. He is also the brains behind Boston's"Pulse of the City," - a life-size red heart that plays music when visitor hold the handles on either side of it. The solar-powered device does this by detecting the holder's pulse and using an algorithm to play music that corresponds with his/her heart rate. He was also responsible for the "Mistletoe Drone," that hovered over skaters at San Francisco's Union Square, last Christmas.
The artist's signature playful spins on technology have enabled audiences all across the country, to experience the ordinary in extraordinary ways. We wonder what he will think of next!
Resources: fastcoexist.com, goodnet.org, georgezisiadis.com