Subaquatic Soundscapes

2-channel video installation, 9:45 min, HD; collage with research papers, 30-page pairs, 20 × 29 cm, 2020
Research on the bioacoustics of octopuses is slim. Even more opaque than the usual puzzles about octopuses, where we have data and knowledge that however we find difficult to make sense of, it is neither clear whether octopuses can hear nor whether they emit sounds or not. Both possibilities are represented in the scarce literature.

Pascal Marcel Dreier aims to evoke a deeper knowledge and awareness of how the sounds perceived by animals and the soundscapes surrounding them are shaped and controlled by us. Markets are noisy spaces (so are aquaria, as Hörner/Antlfinger confirm). It is also where octopuses pass through on their way from home to consumption.

Using bioacoustic animal studies, "Subaquatic Soundscapes" makes sounds audible that usually remain undetected by us. The work combines this with underwater recordings of aquariums at fish markets, and video documents of animal resistance recorded at wet markets in China and South Korea. Thus, Dreier enables a dense (aesthetic) experience of the soundscapes of aquariums and fish markets. Listen to noisy, deadly environments and see how animal actors act, flee and make trouble within.

Text: André Krebber and Pascal Marcel Dreier, in: "Octopus Encounters" (Exhibition Guide), Glasmoog Köln, 04.09.-07.11.2020. Images © Pascal Marcel Dreier