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how to listen to the heartbeat of a blue whale: a more-than-human hex score

Fri. May. 19, 2023

Image Credits: Image 5 – blue whale by MR1805/Getty Images. Images 6 & 7 – 3D image of blue whale in by Leonello Calvetti/Stocktrek Images. Feature image: Roewan Crowe, how to listen to the heartbeat of a blue whale: a more-than-human hex score, digital image, 2022. Courtesy of the artist.  Image description: A rectangular, horizontal image. One-third of the image, to the left, is filled with electric blue. I have been carrying this particular blue with me for many years. It’s inspired by Derek Jarman’s experimental film Blue (1993). This film made an indelible mark on me. It is a film without image, only a blue screen (international Klein blue) and sound. The remaining two-thirds of the image reveals a whale swimming through silky blue water. Hills in the distance. The whale is exhaling through its blow hole. It is almost entirely underwater. You can only see the smallest part of its back and the rise of its blow hole. You can’t see the blow hole openings. White mist and water are moving out of the whale’s blow hole and upward into a clear blue sky. A large hexagon pattern, filled with numerous triangles drawn with shimmering, oceanic blue lines, hovers above the silvery blue rise of the blow hole.

how to listen to the heartbeat of a blue whale is an excerpt from Violet’s Impossible Garden, a queer sequel to the gritty, poetic western, Quivering Land (ARP). Artist and writer Roewan Crowe steps into the wonderous, humming life of the urban garden to gently labour, be lost, and breathe. As a COVID-19 survival project, Crowe ripped up the front lawn to create a potager garden, a space to tend to vegetal creatures and pollinators. Surrounded by ever-changing life and beauty, Crowe couldn’t help but pose questions – to the plants, the winged ones, the four-leggeds, the dirt. These hypnotic entanglements with life in the garden led to the re-emergence of V. (the artist) and a series of visual, poetic, text, and sound-based works. The poetic performance score, how to listen to the heartbeat of a blue whale considers the hex/agon as a form of spell casting to call humans into a more awe-filled, mindful relationship with all forms of life.

Experience the excerpt on BlackFlash magazine's online platform