This video was commissioned by The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra to be played during a live orchestra performance of New Water Music by composer Yotam Haber. The work probes our relation to water, underscoring both its vital importance and the troubling recurrence of environmental disasters. Since 2008, I have documented altered aquatic landscapes across North America. They are sometimes actual deserts where nothing is left to see; the images I capture bear witness to this absence. The declining state of bodies of water certainly counts among the most worrisome environmental issues.
The LPO celebrates the water-filled world of Louisiana with this concert featuring aquatic works by composers from past and present. Yotam Haber New Water Music Suite takes inspiration from Handel’s Water Music, famously performed on the River Thames for King of England in 1717, but also for the wider city who watched from shore and from boats. Haber's work illuminates Louisiana’s coastal crisis of receding wetlands and changing lifestyles for fisherman and coastal residents, with repercussions for New Orleans residents and beyond. This project explores critical issues of water and land use in the Gulf region as well as the growing crisis of coastal erosion. Louisiana loses 16 square miles of land a year, the fastest rate of land loss in the world. New Water Music strives to inspire participation and leadership in residents whose voices are essential to catalyzing change. The work reflects collaborative efforts to raise awareness of this city's uniquely maritime identity and the importance of our coasts and waterways. Yotam Haber, currently based in New Orleans, is a 2005 Guggenheim fellow and a 2007 Rome Prize winner in Music Composition. His music has been performed in the US and internationally, including Carnegie Hall, the Venice Biennale, the Holland Festival, RomaEuropa, and the Venice Biennale.
Isabelle Hayeur would like to acknowledge Yotam Haber, Tori Bush, Lisa Lafleur, Delaney Martin, Natasha Noordhoff, The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and The Gulf Restoration Network.