Rising Tide is a 30-channel immersive sound installation made in collaboration with Tony Myatt, Rungreung Ramanyah and Palin Ansusinah. The composition is based on hydrophone recordings by Jana Winderen; from Suan Gong Bay in Chana, via the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean and Atlantic to The Barents Sea and the Sea Ice around the North Pole.
Tidal movements on Earth are perpetuated by the different phases of the Moon. The tides generate new cycles of life which can be heard in the audible landscapes underwater. Mammals, fish and crustacea rely on the ability to listen to each other and to their environment. They navigate to the sound of the monsoon, the melting sea ice, the sound character of a reef and the distant calls of a blue whale. They sense their surroundings through the speed of sound which varies at different depths, salinity, pressure and temperature. When we violate this sonic landscape with the sound of shipping traffic, seismic testing, powerful outboard engines, military sonars and industrial activities, we cut communication lines, feeding grounds and mating grounds for the inhabitants of the Ocean.
Fishermen in the Arctic and in tropical Oceans have been listening to whales, fish and crustacea through the water surface for thousands of years using bone conduction, with an oar to the head. Today sound recording devices such as hydrophones are used as amplifying tools. Listening underwater is nevertheless possible without this device if you concentrate; in Chana in southern Thailand, Rungreung Ramanyah has been practicing Dolam, a technique of listening underwater for fishing since he was a child, as his grandfather did before him.
Through concentrated listening, we can gain knowledge of the health of an ecosystem. Jana Winderen has used sound as material to point toward particular issues and knowledge since 1992, and for the last 14 years she has focused specifically on listening to and recording underwater environments.
I’m concerned with how listening underwater can provide a better understanding of endangered ecosystems.
Jana Winderen (b. 1965) trained as an artist at Goldsmiths University, London and Falmouth School of Art and Design, Cornwall. She has also studied mathematics, chemistry and fish ecology at the University of Oslo. Her work has been exhibited and performed internationally in major institutions and public spaces in America, Europe and Asia, amongst others Listening with Carp (2019) in the exhibition Now is the Time, Wuzhen International Art Exhibition, China, Through the Bones for the Thailand International Art Biennale in Krabi (2018–2019) and the multi channel audio installation bára, commissioned by TBA21-Academy, Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone commissioned by Sonic Acts (2017), Dive in Park Avenue Tunnel for New York Department of Transportation, Ultrafield at MoMA in New York, and Watersignal at Guggenheim Museum/Unsound Festival. She has created permanent sound installations at the US Embassy, Oslo and the Hamsun Centre in Hamarøy. In 2011 she won the Golden Nica, Ars Electronica, for Digital Musics & Sound Art.
Photo: José Alejandro Alvarez, TBA21–Academy.