Fondation Cartier Presents ‘The Great Animal Orchestra’ Exhibition at Peabody Essex Museum
Installation view of ‘The Great Animal Orchestra’ Exhibition at Peabody Essex Museum. Image credit: Kathy Tarantola. Courtesy of Cartier.

The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) and The Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain present the North American premiere of The Great Animal Orchestra, a collaborative work between pioneer Bernie Krause and United Visual Artists (UVA). On view until May 2022 at the prestigious Salem, MA. institution, the multi-sensory installation invites viewers to take a moment to entrance themselves into global wildlife environments. The immersive experience, showcases the work of Krause (a world renowned Soundscape Ecologist and electric music trailblazer) and his 5,000 plus hours of recordings of natural habitats and their inhabitants—some 15,000 terrestrial and marine species from all over the globe. Hear the sounds of Jaguars and Milk frogs in Brazil, to turtle doves and Baboons in Zimbabwe, all physically visualized through immersive, animated spectrograms created by UVA, generated by Krause’s soundscapes. This exhibition sits at the precipice of innovation, combining aesthetics and the newest technology with audio recordings to create a sonic and visual affair that not only is stunning, but serves as a catalyst for wildlife preservation.

For over thirty years, The Fondation Cartier has stood at the forefront of arts public programing, engaging in projects—from exhibitions, live performances and lectures—that examine and address the most urgent issues facing the environment and our world at large. The Great Animal Orchestra in partnership with the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, marks the museum’s first exhibition partnership in the United States in more than 20 years. Bernie Krause has dedicated countless years and hours to recording and archiving the “vocal orchestra” of the world’s wildlife, using them as a tool to study natural habitats. He listens to animal vocalizations with a musician’s ear and studies his field recordings from the perspective of a scientist. Through his research and exhibition, Krause is shining a light on wildlife preservation—the need to preserve the beauty of the natural world. Many of the environments he’s recorded, he’s re-visited, only to find that more than 50% of the recorded biodiversity has been lost.

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Great Animal Orchestra. Image credit: Kathy Tarantola, courtesy of Cartier.

For The Great Animal Orchestra, Krause worked closely with London-based studio UVA to create the visually striking spectrograms on display. Using cutting edge computer software, UVA—led by Matt Clark—various cohorts of animals, sonically come together to create visual depictions of a sheet of music. With pops of neon green, red and blue, the experience takes you in. This is an installation meant to be taken in fully. A blackbox room with various forms of seating, invite the viewer to sit and stay awhile, as the animal orchestra, whisk you away to far away lands.

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Great Animal Orchestra. Image credit: Kathy Tarantola, courtesy of Cartier.

A new documentary about Bernie Krause, directed by the French filmmaker Vincent Tricon and produced by Fondation Cartier, will also be shown as part of PEM’s exhibition presentation.

The Great Animal Orchestra is on view until May 22, 2022 at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM). For more information, visit here.

For more information on The Fondation Cartier, visit their website.

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