An Immersive Art Installation Records the Sounds of the Sea

by Eve Glasberg |February 7, 2022
boat and hydrophones from underwater

Jana Winderen hydrophone recording at the Silverbank, Dominican Republic. Photo: TBA21–Academy, José Alejandro Alvarez.

Norwegian artist Jana Winderen‘s immersive, site-specific installation, The Art of Listening: Under Water, will be presented by Columbia’s School of the Arts at the Lenfest Center for the Arts, February 3-13, 2022, 2-8 pm. Visitors will experience a composition of underwater recordings made by the artist over many years in various locations—the Barents Sea around the North Pole, Iceland, Greenland, Thailand, the Caribbean, and off the coast of Miami—alongside new recordings made in and around New York City waters, just days before the opening of the installation. Visitors may recline, sit, or stand while they listen.

Winderen has been using hydrophones to make underwater recordings since 2005. “When I make recordings in the environment, I record the whole ecosystem with the animals in it,” she said. “You will hear crustaceans, schools of fish, and mammals like dolphins, whales, seals, and humans.”

The composition highlights the fragility of our ecosystems, and the constant intrusions of human sounds underwater today. Human activities in the world’s waters are ubiquitous and disruptive. Cargo and cruise ships, pings from seismic airguns prospecting for oil, pile drivings, military sonar, jet skis, tankers, and fishing vessels generate underwater noise pollution that puts stress on aquatic life—disrupting animals’ ability to hear one another, communicate, feed, mate, and navigate.

Read the full story and hear a sound recording on Columbia News.

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