BRUNSWICK — Kirk Campbell has been visiting art museums for nearly 50 years and has been to some of the most well-known in the world, including the Louvre in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. He said he’s never seen an installation like the one currently on display at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

Campbell was talking about “Let’s Get Lost” and “Listening Glass,” a coordinated drawing and sound installation that works in concert with a custom-built iPhone app that turns the gallery into an instrument. The installation will be on view at the gallery until Sept. 29, 2019.

“It’s really quite remarkable how the artists were able to work in concert and bring this unique exhibit to Brunswick and the Bowdoin museum,” said Campbell, a summer resident of Maine who lives the rest of the year in South Florida. “It’s extraordinary.”

The first piece — “Let’s Get Lost” — is a series of four large-scale, site-specific drawings by Linn Meyers, which are done in mostly black acrylic ink across the curved walls of the Walker Gallery on the museum’s upper floor. Meyers, an artist who has had works displayed all over the country, including at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., drew contoured lines like those on certain types of maps.

The other piece is a sound installation by a husband and wife team called “Listening Glass,” which was created to work in tandem with the drawings on the wall.

For everything to work together, visitors download an iPhone app and use their smartphone as a wand. With the app open and the phone’s camera able to read and sense the drawing, visitors create their own music by gesturing over the lines, as if strumming the strings of a guitar. The app was built specifically for this installation by software designer and app developer Josh Knowles.

Artist Rebecca Bray, who worked with her husband James Bigbee Garver on the sound installation, said the artists asked themselves how they wanted people to experience the piece through sound, gesture and sense of movement.

“We really wanted to create a social, collaborative experience where people were composing music together using the room as an instrument,” Bray said. “You can start to think about how other people are experiencing the art, and what they’re choosing to do.”

Meyers worked closely with Garver and Bray, who collaborated with her on a previous piece in Washington, D.C. There, Garver and Bray created a sound installation in response to Meyer’s drawing; this one, Meyers said, is not in response to her drawings but in conversation with it.

She created the drawings with the technology in mind, and she said there are certain qualities of the lines and of the color made specifically because of the needs to the technology.

“There’s a lot of contrast between the color of the wall and the colors of my lines,” Meyers said. “That is because we wanted the camera on the phone to be able to easily see what were perceive with our eyes and turn that into sound.”

The app that Knowles designed uses the phone’s camera to read the wall and elicit sound responses on the phone. The app turns the phone into a baton and each visitor into a conductor. The motion of the phone and the angle of the camera results in the sounds of guitars, pianos, bells and voice.

Nearly all the sounds come from each individual phone, so the volume has to be turned up. A few sounds in response to a single blue line in each drawing – all the other lines are black – come from speakers in the room. The size and egg shape of the Walker Gallery, constructed in the late 1800s in the Renaissance style, influenced how the artists designed and built their pieces. Typically, the gallery is home to paintings on the walls, sculpture in the alcoves and objects on pedestals on the gallery floor. For this installation, they cleared the space, giving room for visitors to move freely around the perimeter, cellphones in hand, reading the images and creating music – or just a jumbled cacophony of noise.

Bray said the creation of the piece was challenging as the artists unearthed the limitations of the device. The  iPhone is a sophisticated device, but it can only do so many things consistently at the same time, Bray said. The artists originally planned on doing much more with the app, but they decided it would’ve been too complicated for users.

“We found that the phones weren’t always consistent with how they were sending us data,” she said. “We did a lot of user testing and refined the ideas for the drawing and for the sound. It’s a puzzle because it’s all of these elements interacting.”

On a cool autumn morning — one of his last before heading south — Campbell was at the museum with the most-recent iPhone in hand ready to make music using four wall drawings and a smartphone app. As he walked around the gallery space, which the museum cleared to allow visitors more room to roam free, he held up his device and created a soundtrack to his movements. He was surprised as his phone passed over one of Meyers’ blue lines, which triggers sounds from the large floor-standing speakers in the middle of the gallery.

“That was unexpected, and I’m curious how the artists decided what the sound would be that would come out of those speakers and why,” Campbell said.

He was the only one in the gallery on this day, but he imagines he’ll be back next summer with a friend to see what they can create. One thing he said he knows for sure is that whatever they make will be unique. He said it was a treat to be able to be a part of the final creation of these artists.

“Usually you go to a museum and look at a painting or sculpture and it’s already finished. With these two pieces, we’re putting the finishing touches on them, which is just great,” Campbell said.

Garver said their goal from the beginning was to create something that when one or multiple participants are in the room, the ensemble of sounds from the handheld devices will voice the drawing’s score to varying degrees of complexity through improvisation.

Meyers hasn’t drawn anything on the wall, and Garver hasn’t made any sounds for people to listen to. It’s not static, and the artists don’t want anyone coming in to just look and listen.

“It’s a dynamic, active thing that we’ve made,” Garver said. “We’ve created an arena in which you as a participant can make art.”

Portland Press Herald writer Bob Keyes contributed to this story.