This week, Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain's first exhibition in North America in more than two decades, The Great Animal Orchestra, opens to the public at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, MA. After working with musicians like The Doors and the Rolling Stones in the late 1960s and making music for films such as Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, musician and soundscape ecologist Bernie Krause took to recording natural environments. Krause uses the tool of recording the complex and layered sounds of animals to understand the health of an environment; sadly, he has returned to habitats he has recorded since the 1970s to find that that half of the biodiversity previously recorded is no longer present.
The immersive experience—on now through May 22, 2022—comes to life with visualizations, created by United Visual Artists, of each animal member's contributions to the "orchestra" in several vulnerable habitats across the world, such as the ocean, and the countries of Zimbabwe and Brazil. The piece stands as a warning to protect precious biodiversity and a spark to bring awareness to the importance of environmental conversation all over the world. Jane Winchell, PEM’s Director of the Art & Nature Center and Curator of Natural History says, “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.”
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