Event Details

Sep 23, 2021
7:00pm - 8:00pm
In the wing lecture room

Presented at the Johnson in conjunction with the immersive multimedia art installation Siren—Listening to Another Species on Earth, pioneering bioacoustics researchers Dr. Roger Payne, PhD ’61, and Katy Payne ’59 will reflect upon their decades of research and environmental activism, from Dr. Payne’s discovery in 1967 that whales sing and their findings about whales’ ever-changing songs, recorded by themselves and others in the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans. Some of Roger Payne’s recordings were released as Songs of the Humpback Whale in 1970, which helped to launch the “Save the Whales” movement.

A question and answer session will follow the lecture from 8:00–8:30 PM. Free registration to view this talk virtually is made possible through eCornell. Click here to register.

The Museum will be open until 10:00 PM on Thursday, September 23 so that attendees will have the opportunity to spend time in the Siren installation, on the Museum’s first floor.

In Siren—Listening to Another Species on Earth (on view September 23–26), sound artist Annie Lewandowski, artist and coder Kyle McDonald, and scenic designer Amy Rubin explore humpback whale song in a meeting of intelligences—humpback whale, human, and artificial. Siren celebrates the beauty and conservation legacy of the multiplatinum record Songs of the Humpback Whale for its fiftieth anniversary, while providing a window into the creative minds of our ancient mammalian relative in a contemporary experience of its ever-evolving song.

This lecture and installation are part of The Whale Listening Project, which will take place in person at Cornell University from Thursday, September 23 through Sunday, September 26, 2021. The Whale Listening Project is organized by the Department of Music and made possible through the generous support of the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability, the Cornell Council for the Arts, the Milstein Program in Technology and Humanity, Media Art Xploration, and the Johnson Museum of Art. Thank you to Keeton, Becker, and Bethe Houses for providing accommodations.

All events are free and open to the public. Masks are required inside the Museum. In-person seating for the lecture will be limited.