Sensory Ethnography Lab Program
A day of programming devoted to the Sensory Ethnography Lab, including a master class with Lucien Castiang-Taylor, Ernst Karel, and Véréna Paravel, a premiere of a new sound work by Ernst Karel entitled Morning and Other Times, a screening of Leviathan, and a panel discussion with the filmmakers.
The day begins at noon with a master class with Lucien Castiang-Taylor, Ernst Karel, and Véréna Paravel, and the premiere of Morning and Other Times, a new sound work by Ernst Karel. Morning and Other Times is a multichannel sound piece, made from location recordings, which takes up the relationship of nonhuman animals to the urban environment of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Programming continues at 7 pm with a screening of Leviathan and a panel discussion with Lucien Castiang-Taylor, Ernst Karel, and Véréna Paravel. An immersive portrait of the contemporary commercial fishing industry, Leviathan was filmed off the coast of New Bedford, Massachusetts—once the whaling capital of the world and Melville’s inspiration for Moby Dick. Today, it’s the country’s largest fishing port with over 500 ships sailing from its harbor every month. Leviathan follows one such vessel, a hulking groundfish trawler, into the surrounding murky black waters on a weeks’ long fishing expedition. Instead of romanticizing the labor or attempting to turn fisherfolk into mythic caricatures of themselves, Castiang-Taylor (Sweetgrass) and Paravel (Foreign Parts) present a vivid, kaleidoscopic representation of the sea, the work, the machinery, and the players, both human and marine.
Employing an arsenal of cameras that passed freely from film crew to ship crew, swooping from below sea level to astonishing bird’s-eye views, the film is unlike anything seen before. Entirely dialogue-free, but mesmerizing and dramatic throughout, Leviathan presents a cosmic portrait of one of mankind’s oldest endeavors.
A panel discussion with the filmmakers will follow the screening.
Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel collaborate in the Sensory Ethnography Lab. Their work is in the permanent collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art and the British Museum, and has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Tate, London's Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Whitney Museum, the Centre Pompidou, the Berlin Kunsthalle, the Whitechapel Gallery, PS1, X-Initiative, and elsewhere. Their films and videos have won awards at Berlin, Locarno, New York, Toronto, and other film festivals. Other works include The Last Judgement, Still Life/Nature Morte, Sweetgrass, and Foreign Parts.
Ernst Karel's multidimensional audio work includes electroacoustic improvisation and composition, location recording, sound for nonfiction film, and solo and collaborative sound installations. His work has been exhibited in the 2012 São Paulo Biennial, MIT List Visual Arts Center, the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York, and in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Karel is currently technical advisor and sound engineer for Non-Event, and lab manager for the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard University, where he teaches a course in sonic ethnography and is lecturer on anthropology.