07 Currents_Sound Art

Sound art: art that is distinct from music but in which sound is primary. The sound might be aesthetically challenging; it might even be silence. Sound art can involve multiple disciplines and is used within installation art, documentary, or other mediums.

Cetacea populus, Ryan Henel

Albuquerque’s bosque is a cottonwood forest that lines the Río Grande. In New Mexico, the Río Grande can sometimes run like a trickle, but long ago, this river valley was the bottom of an ocean. Historically, the Río Grande has nourished the bosque’s trees and vegetation and provided habitats for birds and wildlife — including whooping cranes, wild turkeys, beaver, and mink. But over the last half-century, new dams and levees have prevented floodwaters from reaching the bosque, which has affected its flora and fauna. In Cetacea populus, Ryan Henel connects the deep sea to the desert forest using cottonwood logs, a steel “rock,” a subwoofer, and speakers that play modified echolocation signals of blue whales, symbolically locating viewers in two very different natural environments at the same time. Henel is the field coordinator for the University of New Mexico’s program in Land Arts of the American West. Cetacea populus is a prototype for a site-specific sculptural installation that he intends to place in the bosque. 

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