The Language of Cetaceans

Ariel Guzik, Ballenas Azules

In this special event, artist Ariel Guzik, who represented Mexico in the 2013 Venice Biennale, presented his long-term project communicating with whales and dolphins (cetaceans).

Environmental scientist and campaigner Mark Simmonds discussed the role of sound in cetacean society and the impact of sonar and noise pollution.

Ariel Guzik is an artist, musician and inventor. He designs and makes resonance instruments, which are used to enable interaction between human beings and nature through sensation and emotion, and creates installations and performances. For the last ten years, Guzik has concentrated his efforts in searching for a way of communicating with cetaceans. With a group of collaborators, he has undertaken several expeditions to contact grey whales and bottlenose dolphins off the coast of Baja California. In 2007, Guzik completed the construction of the first prototype of an underwater capsule, Nereida, a musical instrument to interact with cetaceans. Guzik presented his work with cetaceans, immediately following his visit to the North of Scotland to meet bottlenose dolphins in the Moray Firth, the research phase of a project with The Arts Catalyst.

Mark Peter Simmonds is an environmental scientist and marine biologist, specialising in the problems facing marine mammals in the 21st century. He is currently the Senior Marine Associate Scientist with the Humane Society International (HSI) and was previously the International Director of Science at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. Simmonds spoke about cetacean communication and the threats to these creatures caused by the increasing emissions of loud noise both deliberately and incidentally into our seas and oceans.


Ariel Guzik

Musician, researcher, artist, iridologist, herbalist and inventor, Guzik designs and produces mechanisms and instruments to enquire into the various languages of nature. He is the director of the Nature Expression and Resonance Research Laboratory in Mexico, which for over 25 years has freely explored the phenomena of resonance, mechanics, electricity, and magnetism as foundations for the invention of mechanisms that give voice to nature through music. His research work is the reflection of an intimate need to generate an atmosphere favorable to the enchantment of the world. He intends to preserve mysteries, rather than decipher them, favoring the perception of natural phenomena through the senses, fascination and fantasy. Installations and individual exhibitions of his work have been presented in national and international institutions. Guzik’s new work Cordiox will be shown in the Mexican Pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale.

Mark Peter Simmonds OBE

Mark Peter Simmonds has worked in the marine conservation and animal welfare field since the 1980s. For several years, was on the staff of Greenpeace International, then employed as a university lecturer. However, for the better part of the last two decades, Mark worked full time for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, where he was their International Director of Science. He has been involved in investigations into the impacts of human activities on marine wildlife, including studies into the effects of chemical and noise pollution and marine debris on marine mammals and the development of marine conservation policy, especially as it affects cetaceans. This includes nineteen years as part of the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission. Mark is also involved in field research on cetaceans in UK waters; mainly on the trail of the illusive Risso’s dolphin. He has also been the Chair of the UK’s Marine Animal Rescue Coalition (which helps to coordinate the work of the UK’s voluntary animal rescue organisations) since 1989. Mark has produced over 200 original papers and other contributions for scientific and popular periodicals and books. He recently jointly edited (with Philippa Brakes) and part authored Whales and Dolphins – Cognition, Culture, Conservation and Human Perceptions which was published in April 2011 by Earthscan.

Supported by The Wellcome Trust.