Whale Walk

Work / ,

Custom made stand alone headphones with audio player.

‘Whale’ (2015) is a sound walk using remote sounds from the ocean as a guide. Different ‘voices’ speak from the ocean into your ear: humpback whales, blue whales, and narwhals. The decontextualized, displaced animal sound becomes the agent, the guide, the voice of knowledge outside and beyond our immediate experience. Juxtaposing these oceanic voices with the desert or other land environments asks us to imagine connections to environments that are remote but nevertheless essentially connected via global climate systems and ancient imaginings. If we cannot bring ourselves to the ocean, what happens if we bring the ocean to us, and allow ourselves to be led by it, to listen to it? Perhaps these connections even lead us to places of increased awareness and expanded consciousness. Whale draws on stories of animal spirit guides and dolphin voices in the desert of the American Southwest.

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The sound walk draws on my earlier works: Sun Run Sun: Satellite Sounders in which participants listened to sonified data from GPS satellites moving overhead as they walked; and the Displaced Sound Walks in which participants create a binaural sound recording of a short walk of their choice which they then listen to while retracing their steps. Both of these sound walks draw attention to our physical presence in space and the psychological effects of expanding our awareness through sound and listening.

With thanks to Prof Kate Stafford, University of Washington, for the marine mammal audio recordings.