Who's Awake by James Forrest

Building a nocturnal environment through sound.
Commisioned by the Peabody Essex Museum for the exhibition Owls in Art and Nature, 2005-06

Installation at PEM  

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The goal of the sound sculpture is to experience the night as an owl. Characteristics captured are: The Hunt, Flying, Night Vision, Habitat, Mating, Feeding, Vocal Communication and Time. Using abstract sound synthesis, organic instrumentation, and sampling of live environments, I hope to allow the visitor(s) to step inside multiple owl's reality from an artist's point of view. The piece strings together nocturnal characteristics and perceptions of owls into a dreamlike narrative, incorporating and reinterpreting scientific traits into impressions. The experience does not seek to recreate reality, but to use it as a blueprint to interpret owls. Due to many differences in owl species this necessitated a wide approach and will allow for interactions that would not happen in nature. The composition was created in the dark, which only allowed a certain pocket of time for the composition to happen. This seemed appropriate due to the subject and had a direct impact on the final experience.

  — James Forrest, January 2, 2006

about the exhibit “owls in art and nature” at the peabody Essex museum

Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA


Owls have long held a fascination for people, whether as symbols of good or evil, of wisdom, or harbingers of doom. Through a selection of works of art and interactive stations, a new exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) explores the myriad connections between people and owls and why owls look and behave the way they do.

Photography by Jeffrey Dykes |  www.jeffdykes.com                           ©2005 James Forrest   |   << Return to Ambalogic
Tree sculpture crafted by Charbanova 978-281-0354