Auksalaq, A Climate Change Opera

Auksalaq  a climate change opera

7:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 4 | Hall Auditorium

101 S. Campus Ave.
Oxford, OH 45056

Free Admission

Presented by The Humanities Center and The Performing Arts Series

Sponsored by MIA Restaurant + Studio

Part of the Oxford Chamber Series

A significant cultural event that marries science as the brain, art as the heart, and culture as the soul in our search for awareness and sustainability
National Geographic


Journey into the vast, remote, and rapidly changing arctic regions of Alaska and Canada in this visually stunning, provocative event. Created by composer Matthew Burtner and media artist Scott Deal with a team of scientists, visual artists and cultural leaders, the work provides a stirring and sobering commentary on global climate change.

Meet the Artist: Auksalaq begins with Matthew Burtner taking you behind the scenes to explore his creative process and discuss the musical temporalities of climate change.

Auksalaq: the Inupiat word for melting snow/ice


About Auksalaq


Video Transcript

[0:00-0:07] SOLOSIST: The music you are about to hear comes from a place few of you will ever experience.

[0:08-0:43](MUSIC AND AMBIENT MURMURS ARE HEARD)
SCOTT DELL (OFFSCREEN): The production came about because I used to live in Alaska. And I lived there for 12 years, and over the years I myself noticed that things were changing, while I was working on network performance using high bandwidth internet, so the two ideas came together. Why not create an opera—and I wanted to be able to as an artist, to be able to bring attention to that on a broad scale, so I thought 'What better way than to have a production where you can have multiple sites performing, and you can have the audience chatting and discussing the situation and get people talking and thinking?'

[0:44-0:47] (MUSIC)

[0:47-1:27] JEAN-PIERRE DODEL: From an audience perspective, the opera offered several areas of performance. We had in front of us, onstage, were the musicians. On the left hand side we had our first projection screen, which had pre-recorded content being mixed live. On the center screen, we had a combination of live musicians playing from Virginia University and IUPUI, which is the (inaudible) Arts Center, as well as pre-recorded interviews and photographs. And on the right hand side we had our third projection screen that was displaying live text through the Nomad system, which is a system that allows the audience to send their text messages directly to the singer's libretto.

Man stands in front of icy terrain. Specialized performance notation is displayed at top of image.

Matthew Burtner

Matthew Burtner is an Alaskan-born composer, sound artist, and eco-acoustician whose music explores embodiment, ecology, polytemporality, and noise.


Photo Gallery

Musical notation for playing Ice

Auksalaq ensemble percussion playing thunder

Auksalaq ensemble wind instruments playing the northern lights

Auksalaq ensemble playing snow while vocalist looks on