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After Dark: Biophony

Image from The Great Animal Orchestra exhibit
After Dark: Biophony

With Bernie Krause

In celebration of the West Coast premiere of The Great Animal Orchestra, we tune our ears to the sounds and the science of the biophony. This term, coined by soundscape artist Bernie Krause, is a way of describing the total nonhuman symphony created by all living organisms in a habitat. We’ll dig into the science of that biophony, what it reveals about the health of an ecosystem, and how artists and scientists capture and join in on the conversation. Tonight only, you’ll be able to hear about some of these projects and studies directly from Bernie Krause as he shares his approach to recording the natural world, what changes he has heard in our planet’s ecological systems over his lengthy career, and his experience in developing The Great Animal Orchestra. 

After Dark: Biophony is co-organized with the Exploratorium’s cultural partner for The Great Animal Orchestra

Fondation Cartier logo



Image: View of the exhibition The Great Animal Orchestra, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, 2016. © Bernie Krause / © UVA. Picture © Luc Boegly

Tuning In to the Biophony
7:30 p.m.
Kanbar Forum

With Bernie Krause and David Harrington, moderated by Kirstin Bach

Tonight only, join us for a conversation about the act of listening. Bernie Krause and David Harrington have each spent over 50 years in careers dedicated to sharing transcendent sound experiences with listeners. Krause’s work has centered on his explorations of soundscape ecology; Harrington’s on his founding and leadership of the world-renowned San Francisco–based Kronos Quartet

Friends for over 40 years, both men are advocates for the power of sound to inspire unique and different ways of understanding our world and of connecting with one another. In tonight’s event, Krause and Harrington invite us into a conversation in which they will reflect on the points of connection and divergence in their respective experiences, share samples of their work and insights on how to listen more deeply, and speculate on how sound and music can be tools for confronting climate change.

Bernie Krause has devoted over 50 years to soundscape ecology. He has traveled the world recording and studying the sounds of natural habitats, from the Amazon jungle to California salt ponds. He’s been stalked by a jaguar, tossed around by a mountain gorilla, and spent as long as 30 hours sitting still in order to capture nature’s symphonic sounds great and small—from groaning glaciers and singing sand dunes to bellowing elk and chirping ants.

David Harrington is the founder of and first violinist in the chamber ensemble Kronos Quartet. Since founding the group in 1973, Harrington has forged it into one of the foremost American string quartets of our time. Integral to Kronos’s work is a series of long-running, in-depth collaborations with many of the world’s foremost composers, resulting in a vast body of Kronos-commissioned works for string quartet. 

The conversation will be moderated by Kirstin Bach, Interim Director of Arts at the Exploratorium.

You can livestream the event here

The Sounds of Life
On a continuous loop 6:00–10:00 p.m.
Osher Gallery 1: Human Phenomenon

In the Microcinema

By Karen Bakker

Come and listen carefully to the secret languages of the animal world. In this collection of videos created by scientist Karen Bakker, she introduces us to five species, their fascinating sounds, and stories of how scientists have studied them. Drawing on her book The Sounds of Life, Bakker invites you to listen for more than buzzes from bees, reflect on the depth of the “elephant dictionary,” and learn how some plants communicate about their health through sound—as well as the many ways digital technologies are offering new opportunities for humans to hear and understand these sounds.

Karen Bakker is a Canadian scientist, author, and entrepreneur known for her work on digital transformation, environmental governance, and sustainability. A Rhodes Scholar with a PhD from Oxford University, she teaches at the University of British Columbia and is currently a visiting professor at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute For Advanced Study. Dr. Bakker is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Bernie Krause: A Life with The Great Animal Orchestra
9:00 p.m.
Kanbar Forum

Directed by Vincent Tricon and produced by Fondation Cartier 

This documentary tells the story of Bernie Krause, a soundscape ecologist who for more than 50 years has traveled the world recording the sounds of animals in their natural habitats. Composed of previously unpublished archival footage and interviews filmed in California in 2021, A Life positions Krause as a brilliant figure who contemplates the natural world as a musician, a poet, and a recording legend. A Life with The Great Animal Orchestra is at once an ode and an elegy—a celebration of sonic splendor and a solemn plea for change. In English with French subtitles.

Food and drinks will be available for purchase at our Seaglass Restaurant and additional bar locations.

Curious about what to expect during your visit? Check out our current safety protocols and guidelines.