What Lies Upstream? for the Dynamic Listening Instrument


From January 12th-18th, Cullen Hoback’s documentary What Lies Upstream premiered at Maysles Documentary Center in Harlem. The documentary shares a thurough ethnographic and personalized aproach to the reverberations and embeded complexes of an event of water contamination in West Virginia. The company Freedom Industries leaks odorous chemicals into the water supply while American Water, the company privatizing water sources around the country rushes to declare it safe. It sounds like a political satire but is an investigative effort which pushes deep into many communities and bodies of legitimacy. You can read more about the premiere here on Maysles’ site.

For the duration of the premiere the Dynamic Listening Instrument was installed in the Documentary Center and open for public interaction. The Dynamic Listening Instrument functioned here for the first time as an interactive sonic extension of someone else’s work.

Listeners in Dynamic Listening Dance Workshop #13


People were invited to investigate a venn-diagram with sounding buckets before and after seeing the documentary. Through exploration, one could listen unique blend of audio from the documentary, recordings of the Hudson River and other water sources earlier that month, relevant interviews I’ve conducted in the past year, social media activism concerned with water conditions and more detailed on the score below.


2 sounding buckets made specifically for the installation.


The week long installation was a an opportunity for the Dynamic Listening Instrument to be used as a tool for immersion in critical ethnographic material, discovery of affective information, and kinesthetic participation in a documentary about water.

On the last day of the premiere I invited participation in Dynamic Listening Dance Workshop #13, and participated in a panel on the intersections of art and political action with Lola Jusidman Shoshana, and Arien Wilkerson.


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