An art project investigating the connections between our marine mammal neighbours, and the impacts of noise pollution.

Caro McCaw and Vicki Smith created Sounding to investigate the connections between noise pollution and marine mammals living off the coast and traversing the waters around Aotearoa/New Zealand. Sounding uses data, technology and handheld devices to expand public understanding of echolocation and ecological pressure from increasing anthropogenic noise in our oceans.

Sounding seeks to help us better understand our marine mammals’ aural environment, echo-location and sonic disruption in the oceans. It is a call to action for better management and research into the connections between noise pollution and the whales and dolphins of Aotearoa/New Zealand and other oceanic species. Parallels are made between land-based and ocean-based communication spaces that we can’t see.

The collaborative project continues to evolve and now includes interactive exhibitions, workshops, performances, walking events, installations and symposia.  Sounding was initially made possible by working with creative technologist Andrew Hornblow, Otago University whale researchers Professor Liz Slooten, Steve Dawson and Will Rayment, sound artist Leyton Glen, the Otago Museum team, Tania Turei and design students from Otago Polytechnic. The Vogel Street performance was choreographed by artist Katrina Thomson. Sounding Walks (2018) and SoundingCA (2019-2020) extend the team to include Sophie De Witte, John Paul Pochin and Hugh Harlow as well as the curators and team at THEMUSEUM.

people enjoying an ambient ocean and marine mammal umbrellas