ECHOES - A Voice from Uncharted Waters - CODAworx

ECHOES – A Voice from Uncharted Waters

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Client: Quartier des Spectacles Partnership (Canada), MuseumsQuartier Wien (Austria) and the LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura (Switzerland)

Location: Montreal, QC, Canada

Completion date: 2021

Project Team

Artist

Mathias Gmachl

Coproducer

MuseumsQuartier Wien

MuseumsQuartier Wien

Coproducer

LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura

LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura

Coproducer

Quartier des Spectacles Partnership

Quartier des Spectacles Partnership

Overview

Echoes – a voice from uncharted water is an interactive sound-and-light work that invites us to look and listen closely. The installation – a massive, colourful representation of a whale – symbolizes our blue planet’s flora and fauna. It asks us to consider the impact of our everyday activities on nature and the environment, making us more aware of their fragility. Interacting respectfully with the marine mammal’s vital space takes us into an enigmatic melodic world. But if we get too close, we are assaulted by noise pollution emitted by the industrialized world. The installation is a meditation on our harmful invasions of Earth’s ecosystems.

“We’ve drawn a sort of imaginary circle around the whale,” Gmachl, the artist, explains. “The line is a limit, a distance that we need to keep in order to avoid intruding on the whale’s space. This invites us to take action to reduce the impact of our everyday activities on nature and the environment, by making us aware of their fragility. Interaction with the marine mammal’s vital space has to be respectful.”

Goals

The Creative Intention: "With Echoes - a voice from uncharted waters, I want to provide an open space - a platform - for the public to have conversations about the future of our planet. Not just about whales, but of all life that exists. The need to create room to learn, and dream, of a better future feels more pressing than ever. The installation is my small contribution towards a larger shift in the narratives and actions needed" - Mathias Gmachl.

Process

This installation is a coproduction between Quartier des Spectacles (Canada), MuseumsQuartier Wien (Austria) and the LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura (Switzerland). The installation was first premiered in Europe and then presented in Quartier des Spectacles from December to February 2022. Making the piece at the height of the pandemic came with significant inconveniences, but it’s also a perfect piece for the new world reshaped by the virus. “The pandemic made communication, collaboration and the production of the work harder,” the artist explains. “But, on the other hand, the experience of the pandemic also made the work’s subject matter more urgent and relevant.”

Additional Information

The first thing that will draw your attention to the whale in Place des Festivals will probably be its sounds. The artist tells us that “the work presents several hours of enigmatic oceanic soundscapes recorded by Jana Winderen, a first-rate artist and sound explorer. The recordings were made using hydrophones (underwater microphones) in remote, undisturbed locations. They reveal the strange acoustic beauty of the ocean.” Echoes – a voice from uncharted waters is also built on a palette of red and gold lights, representing an ocean sunset. “This natural show inspires us to stop and appreciate the beauty of our environment,” Gmachl says. “Red is the colour of seduction and invitation, but also the colour of warning and danger.”