Joel Chadabe


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Curator's Statement

On Water and the World


It is obvious that directly and indirectly, in the course of our daily activities and in the support of distant life forms, water is crucial to our lives. Yet we are heading towards a crisis in managing the waters of the world. To address the crisis, we need to reach an understanding of the issues we face with water. And we need to become aware of the ways we use water in the context of the physical realities of our changing environment.

To quote Bernie Krause, "Seventy percent of the earth is water in all its forms, from the heat vents deep in the Mariana Trench, to the last of the snows on Kilimanjaro. From the killer droughts in Africa to the rising seas taking out villages in Alaska and the Pacific south sea islands."

Ear to the Earth 2010 is about understanding the current states of water in the world and our social and cultural attitudes towards water. We're interested in the sounds of water and/or sounds or performances that will make us aware of water. We want to direct attention to environmental issues relating to water, among them drinkable water, melting ice, rising sea levels, polluted rivers, overfishing, storm intensity, and salinity, to name a few.

This year's festival will include participation by artists from the US, Canada, UK, Italy, Portugal, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Columbia, and other countries, with documentary field recordings, instrumental and electronic compositions, performances, installations, encounters, websites, and other forms of audio with imagery and multimedia. Preludes and festival events will take place in New York during October 2010 on the sloop Clearwater, at various outdoor locations throughout New York City, at EMF Studios, Greenwich House Music School, White Box, Kleio Projects, and Frederick Loewe Theater. Other events will take place in Milan (Italy) and on the web.

We view this festival as an ongoing project, not limited to the time of events in New York. Listening to the world as a means to be continually engaged with the state of the world is an idea too powerful to constrain to a specific number of events in a specific place. We would like to see this festival, and indeed every aspect of Ear to the Earth, continue into the indefinite future as a way of fostering sensitivity to the places in which we live.