Superorganism: Listening to the anthropocene

Project Details

Event: Botanica Festival 2021, Bathurst Winter Festival, Grafton Glow Festival, Vivid Festival 2023

Funding: Brisbane City Council, Destination NSW, Clarence Valley Council and Bathurst Regional Council

Focus: Sound research, curation and design, installation design, lighting design


Lead Artist: Dr. Sarah Barns (sound curation, concept design)

Audio-visual design: Michael Killalea

Music composition: Nigel Cruikshank

Vocals: Rosie Grayson

Sound design and installation: Pete Hird

Technical design and installation: Leif Wilson, Pete Hird

Steel entranceway: Ran Stanton, Tortuga Studios

Lighting supplies: Minleon Lighting

With thanks to the following field recordists for permission to use recordings in this piece: Andrew Skeoch, Vicky Powys, George Vlad (UK). Acknowledgement to the State Library of Western Australia for use of John Hutchinson's 1980 field recordings of the Daintree Rainforest.

A bespoke sound and light installation by Esem Projects, Superorganism invites audiences to consider their place within complex ecosystems of life, spanning human and more-than-human life forms in a space of shared listening.

Lie back, look up, and listen in to past, present and imagined future sounds of our fragile planetary ecosystems.

Informed by the ideas of James Lovelock, creator of the Gaia hypothesis and author of Novacene, Superorganism resonates with different soundings of complex ecosystems; from natural to artificial, from historical bird songs to electro-synthesis and machine intelligence.

It offers a space of meditation on the nature of grief, of hope, and of collective intelligence being forged through shared of recording, augmenting and digitising our spaces of shared communication.

Taking place at pivot point in the history of our planet, during an era of mass extinction and loss of biodiversity, Superorganism invites audiences to reflect, under the canopy of the tree, on what we are losing, what we gain by paying attention, and what uncertain futures lie ahead.

Under the Tipu Tipuana Superorganism by Esem Projects

Superorganism: Listening to the Anthropocene (2021, Esem Projects). Light + Sound.


Superorganism documentation from Brisbane Botanica Festival, 8-16 May 2021.

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