In partnership with the 54th Ann Arbor Film Festival, Ernst Karel will present his collaborative project Ah humanity! at the Work Gallery, 306 S State St, Ann Arbor, from March 15 — April 1. Ah humanity! was created by Karel in conjunction with Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing- Taylor.
An installation for video and four-channel audio, Ah humanity! reflects on the fragility and folly of humanity in the age of the Anthropocene. Taking the 3/11/11 disaster of Fukushima as its point of departure, it evokes an apocalyptic vision of modernity, and our predilection for historical amnesia and futuristic flights of fancy. The images were shot on a telephone through a handheld telescope, at once close to and far from its subject, while the audio composition combines empty excerpts from Japanese genbaku and related film soundtracks, audio recordings from seismic laboratories, and location sound. He will present a talk about the work at the gallery at 3pm on Thursday, March 17th.
Ernst Karel makes electroacoustic music and experimental nonfiction sound works for multichannel installation and performance. His recent projects are edited/composed using unprocessed location recordings; in performance he sometimes combines these with analog electronics to create pieces which move between the abstract and the documentary. He has done sound work on many non-fiction films including Sweetgrass, Leviathan and The Iron Ministry. Karel is also a lecturer on Anthropology at Harvard University, where he teaches a class in sonic ethnography.