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Collection books

Bernie Krause and United Visual Artists, The Great Animal Orchestra


19 €

American musician and bioacoustician, Bernie Krause has collected more than 5,000 hours of recording of natural habitats, including more than 15,000 wild species from all around the world, since the end of the 1960s. His approach is unique: he contemplates the natural world as a poet, listens to animal vocalizations as a musician, and studies the organization of the sounds of each one of these habitats scientifically through a graphical representation, or spectrogram. The analysis of these soundscapes reveals that animal vocalizations are organized as a score and that inside one given ecosystem each species has its own “acoustic niche.”

In 2016, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain presented The Great Animal Orchestra, an exhibition based on the work of Bernie Krause. On that occasion, London-based studio United Visual Artists conceived a visual translation of seven of the most beautiful recordings realized by Bernie Krause in Africa, the United States, and deep in the oceans. Allowing to visualize and to listen to these recordings, this video installation in three dimensions, entitled The Great Animal Orchestra, offers an immersion at the heart of the sounds of nature and a meditation on the necessity of preserving the beauty of the natural world.

The book Bernie Krause and United Visual Artists, The Great Animal Orchestra tells the story of the creation of this unique installation, which joined the Collection of the Fondation Cartier in 2016. Descriptions of the seven soundscapes of the installation by Bernie Krause allow discovering the animals they include and the context of their realization. Statements by personalities about the installation as well as an interview of Bernie Krause by French bioacoustician Michel André shed light on the scientific and philosophical impact of this work since its creation.

Including QR codes to listen to the soundscapes of the exhibition.

Editor Publication Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris
Languages French version and English version

Hardback, 16 × 21 cm, 104 pages
50 black-and-white and color reproductions

Design Nolwen Lauzanne, Paris
ISBN 978-2-86925-151-9
Release February 2019

Bernie Krause

Since 1968, Bernie Krause has traveled the world recording and archiving the sounds of creatures and environments large and small. Working at the research sites of Jane Goodall (Gombe, Tanzania), Biruté Galdikas (Camp Leakey, Borneo), and Dian Fossey (Karisoke, Rwanda), he identified the concept of biophony based on the relationships of individual creatures to the total biological soundscape as each establishes frequency and/or temporal bandwidth within a given habitat. His contributions helped establish the foundation of a new bioacoustic discipline, soundscape ecology. Krause has produced over 50 natural soundscape albums in addition to the design of interactive, non-redundant environmental sound sculptures for museums and other public spaces throughout the world.


Hans Ulrich Obrist

Curator and art critic, Hans Ulrich Obrist (born 1968 in Zurich) joined the Serpentine Gallery (London) as Co-Director of International Exhibitions and Programs and Director of International Projects in 2006. His interest for interviews was triggered during his studies, in the 1990s, after reading two conversations between Pierre Cabane and Marcel Duchamp, and David Sylvester and Francis Bacon. Since then, his Interview project has reached nearly 2,000 hours of conversations and given birth to many publications.


United Visual Artists

Gilles Boeuf

Michel André