Music in the Fourth Dimension



On Tuesday November 15, I went to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem with the rest of my journalism class. I was most excited to visit the four dimensional (4D) Exhibit entitled XYZT, in which museum-goers can interact with the different art pieces through touch, movement, and sound.

While the exhibit itself was amazing, I was struck by the resemblance between one of the 4D pieces and a Joy Division album cover.

The parallels between Unknown Pleasures and XYZT prompted me to consider why Joy Division chose this album cover, as album covers serve as a visual representation of the album itself and are essentially an encapsulation of the artist and its music.

In an video interview with, Peter Saville, the designer of the album cover, Saville explains that the origin of the cover is from The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Anatomy (1977 edition). The image in the cyclopedia is a signal from a pulsar, which were thought by astrologists to be rotating neutron stars.  

Overall, the album cover for Unknown Pleasures and one of the featured interactive pieces from the XYTZ are strikingly similar, not only in appearance but in concept as well, as they both derive from movement.

Take a look at your favorite album cover; what do you see?