Hear the Surprising Sounds of Ocean Life

Posted: January 16, 2014  |  By: Sonia Harmon [National Geographic]

Most people know what a whale or a dolphin sounds like, but have you ever heard a toadfish grunt? Or a sea lion talking to its mother? Thanks to a team of ocean conservationists, now you can. And soon all these natural sounds will be used to tell the stories of ocean life through creative interpretations of leading artists.

Francesca von Habsburg is the founder and chairman of the Vienna-based foundation Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21). The foundation’s TBA21-Academy integrates art, science and sustainability, a fellowship bringing artists, scientists and thinkers together at sea. The Academy’s vessel, Dardanella, places them in unique geographical contexts that raise ecological, economic and social issues.

Francesca gathered a small team of experts to go on a four-year expedition initiated by her foundation and its academy program, to record ocean life using its unique underwater techniques. She plans to share the sounds through a series of opuses and art installations by leading artists and composers in hopes of bringing attention to the importance of fragile marine life. “We wanted to bring the art world to the rescue of the marine world,” Francesca said in an interview from the expedition ship in the Galapagos.

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