The Maihaiowit's Lullaby
THE LEVIATHAN'S PLAYING
During one of the expeditions of The Leviathan's Playing, we discovered a secret ritual: a massive group of gray whales, together and in synchrony, making strong exhalations on the surface of the water, only during the night. This phenomenon, which we call "Maihaiowit's lullaby," only happens once a year.
For three years we have collected information to help us predict the repetition of this unique spectacle, camping at the edge of the water of the winter gray whale sanctuary. Thus, we designed a prediction model that allows us to forecast with moderate certainty the dates on which this happens each year.
The Yuman tradition collects the myth of Maihaiowit, a sea serpent that lives in the northwestern sea of Baja California, and that once a long time ago came to teach its secret songs and how to learn to survive in a twilight world.
In contrast to other species of whales, the gray ones look much more like sea serpents. Furthermore, they are simultaneously the friendliest species and in certain cases can be the most violent of the genus Mysticeti. Their collective behavior understood as a ritual –annually performed in the same place, for a specific phase of the moon, with a cyclical periodicity– is a form of cultural mediation with the environment of a non-human community that challenges us and reveals a series of symbols inscribed in nature.
These recordings are made as a reminder that the winter gray whale sanctuary still preserves the song of the Maihaiowit.
Research and recordings:
Fernando Martín Velazco and Rodrigo Iturralde
Audio clips in unedited format (RAW).
Second prize (for recognition of the proposal) of the Quo Artis Award 2020 for production in Art, Science and Technology.
The materials generated during the Leviathan Games cycle are publicly accessible and free, and come to you thanks to the voluntary work of countless collaborators.
The complete complete archive consists of more than 1,000 hours of video in several simultaneous channels of high-quality recording. It could not be edited, processed and uploaded online for consultation in its entirety due to lack of resources for that purpose.
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