The Fondation Cartier sponsors the contemporary art exhibition “The Great Animal Orchestra”

The Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art sponsors a contemporary art exhibition combining sound and vision. Entitled “The large animal orchestra», This is a collaborative effort between pioneering bioacoustician Bernie Krause and United Visual Artists. The exhibit is on view at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., Until May 22, 2022.

In nearly 50 years, Bernie Krause has collected more than 5,000 hours of records from natural environments, including at least 15,000 land and marine species from around the world. Together, they create an immersive audiovisual experience that celebrates Earth’s rich biodiversity and raises awareness of its alarming decline, according to museum officials.

Along with the opening, a new documentary on Krause, directed by French filmmaker Vincent Tricon and produced by the Cartier Foundation, is presented as part of the presentation of the PEM exhibition. It’s the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Artfirst exhibition partnership in the United States in over 20 years.

Hervé Chandès, director general of the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain and chief curator of the exhibition, notes that the work reflects the Foundation’s commitment to presenting exhibitions that make people think about art, culture and ecology in a new way.

“Bernie Krause’s work teaches us that each animal species has its own animal acoustic signature which, like a musical instrument in an orchestra, positions itself both with precision and subtlety in the score of the soundscape of the ecosystem in which she lives, ”explains Chandès. . “The polyphony of the large animal orchestra is quickly silenced and we must come together to protect our natural resources and environments.”

Krause’s research offers an immersion in the sound universe of animals, otherwise known as biophonics. To produce The Great Animal Orchestra, Krause collaborated with United Visual Artists (UVA), a London-based art practice led by Matt Clark, whose installations and collaborations incorporate new technologies and traditional media. UVA has developed computer software that creates detailed, immersive, and animated spectrograms generated by Krause’s soundscapes to form a visual interpretation of the various global locations and times of day when Krause’s original recordings were made. This environment explores the interrelationship of the many species in these animal orchestras.

Krause’s use of sound recordings as a tool to study natural habitats led to an entirely new field known as soundscape ecology.

“Bernie takes a multisensory approach to studying nature. His work reveals that we can understand the health of a given ecosystem more quickly by listening to it than by watching it, ”says Trevor Smith, associate director of PEM – Multisensory Experience and curator of the Present Tense initiative. “The interrelationship of the sounds that different species make when inhabiting a given site is a deeper marker of ecosystem health than if the location appears pristine to the naked eye.”

Prior to developing a passion for recording wild soundscapes, Krause worked as a musician and sound designer in the 1960s and 1970s, collaborating with artists like The Doors and Van Morrison. In 1963 he joined The Weavers, occupying the post created by Pete Seeger. In 1967, along with his musical partner Paul Beaver, Krause introduced the Moog synthesizer to pop music and film. Beaver and Krause’s work can be heard on more than 250 albums and 135 feature films released between 1967 and 2000, including Apocalypse Now by Francis Ford Coppola and Performance by Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg.

In the 1970s, Krause recorded soundscapes across North America, Latin America, Kenya, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe, as well as a collage of soundscapes from the depths of the world’s oceans. In recent years, he has returned to these exact sites to find that over 50% of recorded biodiversity has been lost. Krause says this installation advocates for the preservation of the diversity of the animal world. Krause implores us to listen to these voices of the living, non-human world before they are forever silenced.

The Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art is a private cultural institution whose mission is to promote the fields of contemporary artistic creation to the international public through a program of temporary exhibitions, live shows and conferences. Created in 1984 by Maison Cartier, the historic institution is located in Paris in a building designed by architect Jean Nouvel.


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Reggie S. Williams