Artist Statement

Wu Tsang's VR Film and Sound Installation Takes Viewers on a Journey Through the Eyes of a Whale

At the Venice Biennale, the filmmaker, visual artist, and MacArthur 'Genius' Fellow flips the script on Herman Melville’s Great American Novel, Moby Dick, with a site-specific artwork that offers up a poetic reinterpretation of the whale’s story from below the surface of the ocean.

Of Whales, supported by VIVE Arts. Photos by Matteo De Fina.

Here, we ask an artist to frame the essential details behind one of their latest works.

Bio: Wu Tsang, 40, New York and Berlin, (wu–tsang)

Title of work: Of Whales

Where to see it: Gaggiandre, Arsenale, Venice Biennale

Three words to describe it: Epic, Surreal, Meditative

What was on your mind at the time: I wanted to explore the perspective of the whale in Moby Dick.

An interesting feature that’s not immediately noticeable: There are 32 channels of sound, which spatialize the music so that it moves in spirals throughout the Gaggiandre.

How it reflects your practice as a whole: This is my first time working VR; I am always pushing myself to try something new.

One song that captures its essence: The score of this film, which is composed by Asma Maroof and Daniel Pineda, in collaboration with Tapiwa Svosve, Jalalu-Kalvert Nelson and Miao Zhao.

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