Johann Diedrick makes installations, performances, and objects for discovering the world through the ears. He explores hidden sounds, peeling back the sonic layers of a place to discover its subtle noises. Sound offers a unique way to investigate the world around us. It is invisible and has no form, yet is present everywhere and permeates through anything. It reaches us without effort and affects us without knowing. With these qualities in mind, his work aims to find existing sounds that are normally unhearable, and to create sounds that have never existed before.
Diedrick will direct and perform in a sonic performance, spanning three acts, that combines music, dance performance, and video to bring into focus the environmental catastrophe humans are currently living through. By way of “sonic archaeology” and “sonic speculation,” the performance will unveil the storied history of the Newtown Creek, a body of water separating Brooklyn and Queens, as a site of ecological devastation, position the waterway as a site of potential re-mediation, and look to the future to propose what could exist here, along with what never will.
The work itself formalizes a new kind of sound art practice, rooted in the present but also seeking to both uncover past histories embedded in material and imagine sonic future that do not (and may never will) exist. The goal of the work is to frame, anticipate, and offer us solace in the face of human-mediated mass extinction. Through the performance, the public will be made more aware of current climate situation, begin to have honest conversations about it, and feel inspired to get involved and do something about climate change in their own city.
The performance will take place at Kingsland Wildflowers, a rooftop garden alongside the Newtown Creek shore. The performance is scheduled to debut in late Summer/early Fall of 2020.