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Siren: Composers of the Sea First Episode of LASOE (Listening to Another Species on Earth)


  • Archive

  • Saturday, January 22, 10:30am–4:30pm
  • Free for all
  • Hunter Center

In Siren composer and performer Annie Lewandowski, artist and coder Kyle McDonald, and Sculpture Artist Amy Rubin explore humpback whale song in a true meeting of intelligences—humpback whale, human, and artificial. Their visually and sonically immersive piece reveals the wounded flourishing of the humpback whale, a species that continues to sing amidst the threat of entanglement. Siren celebrates the beauty and conservation legacy of the multi-platinum record Songs of the Humpback Whale on its 50th anniversary while providing a window into the creative minds of our ancient mammalian relative in a contemporary experience of its ever-evolving song.

During Free Day—MASS MoCA’s annual community celebration—on January 22, the public will be invited to experience Siren: Composers of the Sea in the Hunter Center. Siren will start every half hour and run for 40 minutes with a 20-minute break in between each show. Audiences are able to come and go as they please. More information about Free Day can be found here.

Singers – Hawaiian Humpback Whales, 2019.
Created by Annie Lewandowski – Sound Artist, Kyle McDonald – Artist and Coder, and Amy Rubin – Sculpture Artist.
Scientific Advisor – Katy Payne
Commissioned and produced by Media Art Xploration (Kay Matschullat, Founding Director)

About the Artists
Annie Lewandowski is a composer, performer, and senior lecturer in the Department of Music at Cornell University. In 2017, she began studying humpback whale song with pioneering bioacoustician Katy Payne. Lewandowski’s 2018 composition Cetus: Life After Life, for humpback whale song and chimes, explores the evolution of Hawaiian humpback song from 1977-1981. She has been awarded grants from the Atkinson Center for Sustainability for her research exploring the creative minds of humpback whales and collaborated with Google Creative Lab to create the broadly adopted public web tool Pattern Radio: Whale Song for teaching AI to recognize patterns in humpback whale song. She has released nine recordings with her band Powerdove, and has presented her work at festivals and venues across the United States and Europe, including the Casa da Musica (Porto, Portugal), the Hippodrome (London), the Frieze Arts Fair (London), and REDCAT (Los Angeles). She is a 2014 Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellow.

Kyle McDonald is an artist who works with code. He crafts interactive installations, sneaky interventions, playful websites, workshops, and toolkits for other artists working with code. He explores possibilities of new technologies—to understand how they affect society, to misuse them, and to build alternative futures—aiming to share a laugh, spark curiosity, create confusion, and share spaces with magical vibes. He works with machine learning, computer vision, social and surveillance tech in projects spanning commercial and arts spaces. He has been an adjunct professor at NYU’s ITP, a member of F.A.T. Lab, a community manager for open Frameworks, and an artist in residence at STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at CMU and YCAM in Japan. McDonald’s work has been commissioned and shown around the world, by organizations including the V&A, NTT ICC, Ars Electronica, Sonar, Today’s Art, and Eyebeam.

Amy Rubin designs environments for theater, opera, dance, and live events. Her visual storytelling creates intimate experiences through the manipulation of space and how the audience views and interacts in the performance. Rubin’s New York credits include Octet, Thom Pain (Signature Theatre); Gloria: A Life (Daryl Roth Theatre); Miles for Mary (Playwrights Horizons); All the Fine Boys (The New Group); Aging Magician (New Victory Theater); and Ike at Night (Public Theater). Regional credits include Gloria (American Repertory Theatre, McCarter Theatre); Cyrano (Goodspeed Musicals); and Mahagonny/​Medium (Philadelphia Opera), as well as projects at La Jolla Playhouse, Walker Arts Center, MASS MoCA, Z Space, the Kimmel Center, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Bushwick Starr, HERE, the Flea, Cherry Lane, 3LD, and numerous TED Talks. She previously taught at Harvard University and University of Rochester, and has lectured at MIT and NYU/Tisch, where she received an M.F.A.

About Media Art Xploration
Media Art Xploration (MAX) produces live & immersive arts that harness and interrogate the scientific advances of our times. Our goal is to bring artists, scientists, technologists and audiences where they have never been before, giving us the opportunity to explore, to reinvent the future of our planet and democracy.

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