MOBY DICK; or, The Whale
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About this commission
In MOBY DICK; or, The Whale, award-winning filmmaker and visual artist Wu Tsang and the collective Moved by the Motion embark upon a feature-length, silent-film telling of Herman Melville’s great American novel. Presented in its North American premiere at The Shed, the film includes original music composed by Caroline Shaw and Andrew Yee with Asma Maroof, performed live by Members of the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Daniela Candillari.
This adaptation, written by Sophia Al-Maria and directed by Tsang, follows the white whale above and below the surface of the water, developing a visual cosmology that resists the exploration and exploitation of the earth under imperial colonialism. The narrative is interwoven with extracts by the Sub-Sub-Librarian, a character played by Fred Moten, and tackles the novel’s subterranean currents, encountering the resistance of the ship’s hydrarchy, or organizational structure, and collectives of “mariners, renegades, and castaways,” as described by historian C.L.R. James.
The staging of this adaptation by Moved by the Motion pairs the classic story of the whaler’s “floating factory” with the beginnings of the film industry in silent film. The film was shot entirely on a sound-stage combining silent-era filmmaking techniques with a virtual reality game engine projecting surreal ocean environments. Concurrent with the presentation at The Shed, Moved by the Motion will contribute a video installation to the Whitney Biennial 2022 featuring extra-narrative and recontextualized material from MOBY DICK; or, The Whale.
MOBY DICK; or, The Whale is produced by the Schauspielhaus Zürich and co-commissioned by LUMA Foundation, Superblue, TBA21—Academy, HARTWIG ART FOUNDATION, The Shed, DE SINGEL, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
over 1 year ago
Written by Sophia Al-Maria
Original score by Caroline Shaw and Andrew Yee with Asma Maroof
Produced by Laura D’Incau
Co-produced by Wu Tsang
David Codikow and Nadja Rangel, Executive Producers
Tosh Basco and Sophia Al-Maria, Associate Producers
Stefan Scheuermann and Barbara Higgs, Associate Producers
Cinematography by Antonio Cisneros
Movement direction by Tosh Basco
Choreography by Josh Johnson
Costumes by TELFAR x Kyle Luu
Production design by Nina Mader
Virtual production by Bild Studios
Video design by Fray Studio
Edited by Jérôme Pesnel
Dramaturgy by Katinka Deeke and Joshua Wicke
Jin Suk Yu
Alexei Yupanqui Gonzales
Deborah Borda, Linda and Mitch Hart President and CEO
Isaac Thompson, Managing Director
Justin Brown, Vice President, Production and Venues
Patrick Castillo, Vice President, Artistic Planning
DeAnne Eisch, Orchestra Personnel Manager
Joseph Faretta, Stage Representative
The performances are produced by Annabel Thompson, Associate Producer, with production management by Pope Jackson, Production Manager.
The program team includes Alex Poots, Artistic Director and CEO; Madani Younis, Chief Executive Producer; Laura Aswad, Producer; Annabel Thompson, Associate Producer; Frank Butler, Director of Production; and Pope Jackson, Production Manager.
Stuart Burgess, Lighting Designer and Head Lighting, The Griffin Theater
Rachel A. Zucker, Stage Manager
Micah Zucker, Head Audio, The Griffin Theater
Josh Gallitzer, Head Carpenter, The Griffin Theater
- Running time: 75 minutes
- There is no late seating
Location and dates
April 16 at 2 and 8 pm
April 17 at 3 pm
Thank you to our partners
The creation of new work at The Shed is generously supported by the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Commissioning Fund and the Shed Commissioners. Major support for live productions at The Shed is provided by the Charina Endowment Fund, with additional support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
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