by Sonia Levy

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The two recordings mirror two sites that have come to be of special significance for me. They are part of an ongoing body of work and research, investigating and looking at different aspects of the relationship between humans and whales.

These are places equally connected by their resemblances and differences to each other. Both are located in the controversial territory of the Arctic, caught between the sublime, romantic image of the last pristine, untamed environment, and the dramatic fast-paced change of landscapes ripe for new developments, industrialisations and extractions.

Of particular interest is how these coastal sites are places where cetaceans and human ‘meet’. With their intricate ecosystems, they are complex and mysterious marine environments inextricably tied to other kinds of ebbs and flows; oceanic currents and dynamics, the sun, the mountains and glacial rivers, the impact of human activities and terrestrial ecosystems, and of CO2 and other pollutants. In this globalised system of flows and temperatures creating and shaping life, patterns of migration, the lives of cetaceans and humans are entangled on a local scale.

Whales and cetaceans have come to represent our contradictory relationship with the environment, from their early commodification as barrels of oil, to their use as a symbol for saving the planet in the 1970s. 

As charismatic creatures, relatable and unfathomable – warm-blooded-social mammals like us, and yet living and roaming the depths of a turbid world with extra senses – can they now help us rethink and reconfigure our ways of cohabiting with the more-than-human world? 

Whales have become, for me, a lens through which to look at historical and cultural aspects of human interaction and relations to “nature”, while presenting a challenge in attempting to reverse this gaze to find ways to represent their worlding. 


released June 23, 2017



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