Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain’s has opened its first North American exhibition in over two decades. Titled The Great Animal Orchestra, the exhibit opens to the public at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. The exhibit is a collaboration between soundscape ecologist Bernie Krause and United Visual Artists.
Krause is best known for working with musicians like The Doors and the Rolling Stones in the late 1960s and went on to compose music for films like Apocalypse Now. Kraus wanted to use layered sounds of animals recorded in their natural environments, but most of the habitats he has recorded since the 1970s have been decimated by the loss of biodiversity.
Krause still has a catalog of over 5000 hours of recordings of 15,000 different species that he was able to use to create an immersive audio-visual experience. The exhibit is a call to protect animal wildlife. The sounds are accompanied by visual installations from United Visual Artists who designed a computer software program to create animated spectrograms of the soundscapes as reported by Travel + Leisure.
In a statement, Jane Winchell, PEM’s director of the museum’s Art & Nature Center and curator of natural history, said, “‘The Great Animal Orchestra’ is a highly original and memorable encounter that stays with you long after you leave. I found myself listening more intently and with greater awareness of how animal sounds serve as messengers of an ecosystem’s vitality.”
The exhibit is currently open until May 22, 2022. PEM is also showcasing a documentary of Krause’s life and work produced by Fondation Cartier.