In Whale (2017) oceanic voices – bowhead whales, bearded seals, beluga whales, and narwhals – spoke directly into our ears from ice-covered arctic waters. They become the agents, the guides, the voices of knowledge beyond our immediate experience. The Whale headphones were roped with local Dundee jute using a Celtic 16-strand hollow braiding technique.
The cultural lives of cetacean and human species are complexly intertwined – these are the voices of the same beings that fueled the whaling and jute industries of Dundee and they continue to be affected by the current crisis of global climate systems. Whale simultaneously invoked Dundee’s past as a centre for the whaling industry and increases our awareness of the new cultural industries replacing it here on the waterfront.
With thanks to Kate Stafford, University of Washington, for the marine mammal audio recordings.