The Art of Listening: Under Water
The Art of Listening: Under Water
Experience a composition of underwater recordings made in NYC and around the world, hearing crustaceans, schools of fish, and mammals like dolphins, whales, seals, and humans.
Lenfest Center for the Arts
February 03, 2022 to February 13, 2022
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Installation details

Jana Winderen
Sound artist
Tony Myatt
Head of Department of Music & Media, University of Surrey / sound engineer

How to attend

Check the event website for updates on how to attend.


Lenfest Center for the Arts
Columbia University
The Lantern, top floor
615 W 129th St
New York, NY 10027

About The Installation

Norwegian artist Jana Winderen’s immersive, site-specific installation, The Art of Listening: Under Water, will be presented by Columbia University School of the Arts in February 2022. Visitors will experience a composition of underwater recordings made by the artist over many years in various locations — the Barents Sea around the North Pole, Iceland, Greenland, Thailand, the Caribbean, and off the coast of Miami — alongside new recordings that will be made by Winderen in January 2022 from bodies of water in and around New York City, just days before the opening of the installation. Visitors may stay as long as they wish — seated, reclining, or standing.

Winderen has been using hydrophones to make underwater recordings since 2005. “When I make recordings in the environment, I record the whole ecosystem with the animals in it.” she explains. “You will hear crustaceans, schools of fish, and mammals like dolphins, whales, seals, and humans.”

The composition highlights the fragility of our ecosystems, made more so by the constant intrusions of human sounds underwater today. Human activities in the world’s waters are ubiquitous and disruptive. Our cargo and cruise ships, seismic airguns used to test for oil, pile drivings, industrial activities, military sonars, jet skis, tankers, and fishing vessels generate underwater noise pollution that puts stress on aquatic life — impeding animals’ ability to hear each other, communicate, feed, mate, and navigate. Winderen notes that “a movement that we make in one place can have an impact more broadly across the world.”

Made with longtime collaborator Tony Myatt, The Art of Listening: Under Water will be presented as a site-specific 360° spatial audio installation, just blocks from the Hudson River, in the Lantern — the flexible top-floor space of the Lenfest Center for the Arts on Columbia University’s Manhattanville campus. 

Originally commissioned by Audemars Piguet Contemporary and previously presented in Miami Beach (December, 2019), this second iteration of the 28-audio-channel installation will be tailored to reflect both New York City-specific underwater life and the contours of the Renzo Piano-designed Lenfest Center for the Arts: “When I am installing the sound piece,” Winderen says, “I work with the space as it is and not against it.”

Image: Jana Winderen, hydrophone recording at the Silverbank, Dominican Republic. Photo: TBA21–Academy, José Alejandro Alvarez