Auksalaq, an interactive multimedia opera created by composer Matthew Burtner and media artist Scott Deal, integrates music, sonic and visual art, science, and social commentary to provide a stirring statement on global climate change. The work's title, an Inupiat word meaning “melting snow or ice,” frames Auksalaq as a journey into the vast and remote, yet rapidly changing arctic regions of Alaska and Canada. Auksalaq’s reflection on climate change is particularly relevant at a time when Arctic ice levels are at an all-time low. Matthew Burtner's music employs interlocking environmental forces as eco-musical forms, expressing the profound changes in the ice-flows of Arctic waters; while Scott Deal's media presents vivid imagery of Arctic land, sea, and sky, as well as scientific data and animation. Burtner and Deal invite their audience to contribute to the sights and sounds of Auksalaq using NOMADS—a specially developed smartphone/tablet app that creates a musical and visual ecosystem of interacting layers.
Auksalaq will be performed simultaneously between venues at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.; the Lu Magnus Gallery in New York City; and at OpenGrounds, the University of Virginia.
PRAISE FOR AUKSALAQ
"Auksalaq is a living, breathing Tour de Force. This avant-garde musical production provides a vehicle for an expanding societal conversation. Auksalaq is a significant cultural event that marries science as the brain, art as the heart and culture as the soul in our search for awareness and sustainability. ... It can be a political and social driver that will accelerate response to climate disruption...”
—Michael McBride, National Geographic
“Auksalaq is the single best and most important realization of meaningful opera for today's world that I have heard in decades. ... It is a pioneering work that pushes the boundaries of networked, media-enriched performance. It weaves together multiple narratives relating to global climate change into a powerful, evocative, and multifaceted story, presenting different perspectives in the ways in which we view the world through a variety of media, including projections, documentary material, live music, verbal narrative, and electronic sound. In its relevance to today's world, in its theatrical multiple-media presentation, in the ways in which it brings humanity together with technology, it is a remarkable work and an example of how opera may and should evolve today. “
—Joel Chadabe, Electronic Music Foundation, NYC
For more information, visit www.auksalaq.org
Audience members are encourged to bring laptops, iPads, iPhones, or Androids to participate in the event.
Note: This event, originally scheduled for October 29, 2012, was rescheduled due to Hurricane Sandy.
The performance of Auksalaq is part of an ongoing partnership between The Phillips Collection and the University of Virginia on art and innovation. Artists, curators, educators, scientists, policy-makers, and many more have gathered since 2009 at The Phillips Collection and at OpenGrounds, a pan-University hub in Charlottesville for art and innovation led by architect Bill Sherman, to participate in sessions that explore new examples of the intersections of the arts, science, and technology.