Requiem: A White Wanderer

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Funded on July 18, 2019
    • 111% contributed

For many, the scale and magnitude of climate change is incomprehensible, leaving us feeling powerless to the imminent crisis. Our project, Requiem: A White Wanderer, uses a creative multi-sensory approach to address this emotional experience and allow us to see, hear, and feel the impact in new ways. As installation artists, we work with light, color, projection, and other materials to explore ideas. For many years, climate change has been one of our most compelling and urgent subjects. For this project we are collaborating with scientists and musicians to create an original performance based on shifting and melting icebergs. Douglas MacAyeal, a glaciologist at the University of Chicago, is providing source data based on the seismic recordings of Iceberg B15. Composer Katherine Young will translate this information into a musical score, which will be played live by an ensemble of musicians. We will design the concert setting, using mirrors and reflected light to create an atmospheric environment for the musicians and the audience. Support for this campaign will enable us to bring some of the best musicians in the country together with artists and scientists to create a dynamic—hopefully catalytic—platform for discussion and action towards combating climate change.

About This Project

An earlier phase of this project, entitled White Wanderer, was initially inspired by Larsen-C, a 120-mile long crack that formed along the Antarctic ice shelf and broke into a trillion-ton iceberg in 2017. We learned that there were seismic recordings made by glaciologist Douglas MacAyeal, who has been observing and recording the movement and changes in icebergs for several years. The seismic recordings have a low frequency sonic signal that is inaudible to the human ear but can be perceived and felt throughout the ocean system, traveling through deep sea trenches like the “SOFAR” channel from the Antarctic to Haiti and beyond. We were able to connect with MacAyeal and use his data as inspiration in our work. 

With support from the Natural Resources Defense Council, in 2017 we launched the project with two iterations: an immersive public installation downtown at 2 Riverfront Plaza and a presentation at the EXPO Chicago art fair. The public installation comprised a visual representation of the 120-mile long crack depicted on the building façade at 1:5000 scale along with a custom sound recording of the iceberg. The result helped to showcase how enormous the scale of climate change is. The New Yorker’s Year in Review featured White Wanderer as one of nine “sounds that defined 2017.” Subsequently, for Earth Day 2018, we were invited to present the soundscape inside the University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel. Hearing the sound in this setting sparked the inspiration to develop this new live piece with a composed score and full ensemble of musicians. 
Requiem: A White Wanderer, pushes us in a new realm artistically, presenting new formal and conceptual challenges. We have often collaborated with musicians but never in the creative process of writing music. Using the seismic data as our roadmap, we are enchanted to go on this journey with Katherine Young, interpreting the data into the musical score.

Initial work on Requiem: A White Wanderer began earlier this year during a year-long Outer Ear residency at Experimental Sound Studio (ESS), where we’re exploring the seismic data and developing the structure and translation for the new score. In July we will begin rehearsals with four musicians. Our aim is to present a public concert for Chicago audiences in winter 2020. Musicians will include HOUNDSTOOTH: Min Park (violin), Myra Hinrichs (violin), & Audrey Q. Snyder (cello); Anton Hatwich (bass); Katinka Kleijn (cello); Jenna Lyle (vocals); Ryan Packard (percussion).
Unfortunately, the effects of climate change continue. For example, in Louisiana, the amount of land equivalent to a football field  is lost to rising sea levels every day. With this project we want to create an immersive, multi-sensory experience that helps people connect to the urgency affecting all the beings on our planet. For us, we hope this collaboration and the work that is produced invokes a reaction, even if that is simply understanding the sense of scale for the first time. But perhaps with an increasing scale of response, we may counteract this global issue. 

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $10
    White Wanderer: Digital download of "White Wanderer" 2017 soundtrack ($10.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $25
    Low Frequency: Vinyl recording of "White Wanderer" 2017 soundtrack + artist-made thank you card ($10.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Glaciologist: All of the above + a digital download of "Requiem: A White Wanderer" concert recording ($35.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    Tip of the Iceberg: All of the above + a pair of tickets to the concert and your name in the concert program ($45.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250
    Larsen C: All of the above + an invitation to a champagne toast with Luftwerk and musicians after the concert ($195.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    Seismic Supporter: All of the above + limited edition, silkscreen project print (22” x 30”; 90lb paper) Limited to three. ($195.00 is tax deductible.)


Luftwerk (Petra Bachmaier & Sean Gallero) explores light, color, and perception in immersive, experience-based installations. Focused on the context of a site for each project, Luftwerk applies their own interpretive layer, integrating the physical structure, historical context, and embedded information …

View Luftwerk's profile
  • Update 1: Join us on the Jay Pritzker Pavilion stage in Millennium Park - Saturday, February 1, 2020
    Posted on January 20, 2020


    Thank you for supporting the making of REQUIEM: A WHITE WANDERER Join us on the Jay Pritzker Pavilion stage in Millennium Park. Please join Luftwerk, ESS and NRDC for this free musical performance and immersive installation inspired by seismic data from an ailing iceberg. Reserve your tickets now for this special series of performances and sound walks.

    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • David Drexler

    • Joseph Scheer

    • John McGrath

    • Joanne Gross

    • Paul Coffey

    • Renate Bachmaier

    • Uta Wegmann

    • Daniel Sullivan

    • Josef Bachmaier

    • Leigh Munoz

    • Sarah Skaggs

    • Eric Kerns

    • Nancy Juda

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Rachel Kraft

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3AP Presenting Partner:

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 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council