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What to Expect at Listening Forest, Our New Outdoor, Nighttime Experience

It’s time to return to the forest! Listening Forest, created by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, is our brand-new, outdoor, nighttime experience in the North Forest, open Wednesday-Sunday now through January 1, 2023.

This immersive exhibition includes eight installations that can only be activated with your participation. From platforms that detect your pulse and video screens that visualize your heat to giant light robots you can control with your body and installations that record your voice, Listening Forest only comes to life with your participation. It’s a great activity for the whole family that keeps everyone active and helps us contemplate our relationship with nature and what we leave behind.

To plan your trip, here’s what you can expect during the Listening Forest experience, open now:

 

a black and white map showing directions from the parking lot to the entrance of Listening Forest

Your journey begins at the parking lot on the corner of Museum Way and J St.

We’re asking that all guests attending Listening Forest park at the additional parking and gravel lots at the top of the hill (across the street from the Amazeum). From there, follow the path of lights into the North Forest. The check-in kiosk is found just within the trees (see map above). Once you check in, keep following the paved path. You will come across two of the eight installations and a few more kiosks before you get to the main event. Once you hit Tony Tasset’s  Deer sculpture, turn right, and you’ve made it to Listening Forest.

(Psst! If you attended North Forest Lights in previous years, it’s the exact same path!)

A few other tips:

  • This is a nighttime, outdoor event, so please check the weather before you go and dress accordingly. Wear comfortable walking shoes.
  • Plan on 1-2 hours to see and enjoy the experiences. You may spend more or less time depending on your preferences.
  • Listening Forest is a cashless event. Please bring a credit or debit card to make purchases in the exhibition.
  • Taking photos and videos is encouraged, however, flash photography is prohibited. Flashes will interfere with light experiences.
  • Advisory: The exhibition relies on sensors and recording cameras to activate each installation, but please be assured that recordings are only used for archival purposes and will not be shared anywhere beyond the exhibition.
  • Well-behaved dogs on a leash are allowed in Listening Forest.
  • No outside food and drinks will be allowed inside, but guests are welcome to enjoy the seasonal snacks and drinks available at the Village (keep scrolling to learn more!).

 

Be prepared for lots of walking. Accessibility assistance will be available.

There will be about 1.5 miles of walking in total, including the walk to and from the additional parking lot. We understand that this might be a lot for some family members, so we will have assistance available. A mobility shuttle will be offered to transport folks with accessibility needs by request from the parking lot to the entrance of Listening Forest where they can meet back up with their party.

The trails created for this experience are wheelchair and stroller-accessible. Depending on the age and abilities of your group, you may also choose to bring strollers or wagons.

 

a black and white map of the eight installations of Listening Forest and where they can be found throughout the North Forest

Two installations are located along the trail 

As you make your way down the North Forest Trail, you will come across two of the installations before you make your way to the main event:

 

Recorded Assembly merges the facial features of participants into a constantly changing portrait of previous forest visitors.

 

Arkansas Text Stream, simulation by Antimodular Studio

Arkansas Text Stream consists of brief texts sourced from Northwest Arkansas community members animated as a slow stream of letters. Projected on the footpath, these letters transform into phrases as the presence of people is detected.

 

Learn a little about the other six installations

Get ready to use your body, your voice, and your memories to create an unforgettable experience:

 

In Pulse Forest, visitors can add their heartbeat to an array of 3,000 lightbulbs, each glimmering to the pulse of a different participant from the past.

 

Thermal Drift features a thermal camera that registers a visitor’s heat signature and visualizes that energy as particles floating into the surrounding space.

 

Remote Pulse consists of two identical pulse-sensing stations that connect strangers and beams of light across the forest. One is located in the Village area near the restrooms and the other is located near the Rock Ledge Shelter (see map above).

 

Embodied Light Beacons allows guests the opportunity to control giant, 20-foot-tall stick figures made of light.

 

In Voice Forest, guests can leave a voice recording that joins a chorus of voices left by previous forest visitors.

 

In Summon, microphones pick up sounds from visitors on a bridge and translate them into an array of light in the ravine below.

 

Food and drinks are available inside Listening Forest

The Village food court area will offer seasonal snacks and beverages to enhance your experience. Restrooms and merch stands are also available in this area. No outside food and drinks will be allowed inside.

Listening Forest is a cashless event. Just a heads up that there is no cash in the Listening Forest experience in an effort to minimize contact and speed up transactions. Please bring a credit or debit card to make purchases in the exhibition.

You may also be interested in purchasing a culinary basket to enhance your experience! Culinary baskets can be purchased online when you buy your tickets and must be purchased 24 hours in advance of your ticket departure time.

 

We offer relaxed sessions for visitors with light sensitivities

As an advisory, this exhibition includes lights that turn on and off and change rapidly, which might be triggering for guests who have sensitivities to flashing lights or neurodiverse guests prone to sensory overstimulation; however, the museum is offering relaxed sessions for Listening Forest. On the first Thursday of each month, starting in October, the exhibition will have reduced volume and projections will be slowed down for those who prefer a more relaxed experience.

Dates for relaxed sessions include: October 6, November 3, and December 1.

 

Listening Forest is open Wednesday-Sunday now through January 1, 2023. Get tickets here. 

 

Special thanks to our sponsors: 

Listening Forest is sponsored by the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation, Kenneth and Mandy Davis, and Sue and Charles Redfield.

10th Anniversary Exhibition Season is sponsored by: The Coca Cola Company, Goldman Sachs, Tyson Foods, Tyson Family Foundation, The Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation, Walmart, James Dyke and Helen Porter, Christies, Sotheby’s, Stout Executive Search, Trott Family Philanthropies, Del Monte Foods, Inc., Chuck and Terri Erwin, Shelby and Frederick Gans, Sybil Robson Orr, ConAgra Brands, The Kroenke Family Foundation, The Bogle Family, Rick and Beverly Chapman, Pat Cooper, Valorie and Randy Lawson | Lawco Energy Group, and Kelly and Marti Sudduth.