Kai 'Apapa
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Kai 'Apapa: Of the Reefs



Kai ‘Apapa, Hawaiian for coral reef, is a multimedia examination of American National Parks’ coral reef systems. Environmental artist Diane Burko, NASA Earth and Space Science Fellow Samiah Moustafa, composer/video artist Christine Southworth, and composer/clarinetist Evan Ziporyn will be in residence together at each park filming the reefs, recording sounds of each island above and under water, collecting data to study the health of each reef, and creating music, video, photographs and paintings of and about each park.

The finished piece will be multi-faceted: a live performance piece for theaters and planetariums with immersive 360° video, elaborate soundscapes and live clarinet, bagpipe, and vocals; a gallery installation to show artwork, photographs, and data; and a website featuring our research and an online installation to reach a broader audience.

The parks are: The War in the Pacific National Historical Park in Guam, National Park of American Samoa, Kalaupapa National Historical Park (Molokai) and Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park (Kona) in Hawaii, Biscayne National Park and Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida, and Virgin Islands National Park and Buck Island Reef National Monument in the US Virgin Islands.

The goal of this project is not only to produce a visually and musically stunning performance, but also to raise awareness of the effects of climate change on our national underwater treasures, to show how fragile they are but also how beautiful and important they are still, to show why we need to try to save them. All three artists have a long-standing interest - reflected in their work - in biodiversity, multiculturalism, and interdisciplinary collaboration. This can be seen in Diane Burko’s visual art concerning extreme climates; in Christine Southworth’s multimedia work bringing together the sounds and images of nature, technology and traditional cultures; and Evan Ziporyn’s ongoing work with Balinese gamelan, the Silkroad Ensemble and in his work as Director of MIT’s Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST). By working in situ we hope to produce a work that is impactful in multidimensional and resonant ways.


Map of Locations: 9 coral reefs in American National Parks

Kai 'Apapa is a project of Ensemble Robot, Inc., a 501(c)(3) arts organization based in Lexington, Massachusetts. We would like to thank MIT Music & Theater Arts and MAP Fund for their generous support!