52 Hz, 2018

#Rare species

Sound, 12 min

Today people have almost infinite means of communication adaptable to every situation: phones, emails, messaging, social networks, etc. However, at the same time the quality of this communication has been degrading and leading to misunderstanding, withdrawal, fragmentation and, ultimately, intolerance. The overdosing of everyday digital communication produces massive noise pollution.

In 2018 the artist took part in the oceanographic mission following the migration route of a whale of unidentified species which calls at the very unusual frequency of 52 Hz. This is much higher than that of the other whale species with similar migration patterns—the blue whale (10–39 Hz) or fin whale (20 Hz). Appearing to be the only individual whale emitting a call at this frequency, which presumably prevents it from communicating with its peers, the 52-hertz whale has been described as “the world’s loneliest whale.”

This story has served the artist as a metaphor for an individual human being, who, overexposed to mass communication, feels a certain loneliness at the same time.

The video documentation of the project produced by the Institute of Applied Ecology of the Auckland University of Technology.

Olga Kisseleva

Olga Kisseleva

Olga Kisseleva (b. 1965, St. Petersburg) is an artist and professor at the Pantheon-Sorbonne University. In her large-scale artistic installations and interactive exhibitions she employs scientific and technological tools.

Kisseleva’s artworks are in the collections of major international m…