Wu Tsang’s MOBY DICK; or, The Whale

Related Exhibition Wu Tsang: Of Whales

Wednesday, Nov 8, 2023

7:30 p.m.

Stanford University, Bing Concert Hall, 327 Lasuen St, Stanford CA 94305

Tickets start at $32 and can be purchased on Stanford’s website.

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. The film includes original music composed by Caroline Shaw and Andrew Yee with Asma Maroof, performed live by the New Century Chamber Orchestra.

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, 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 soundstage combining silent-era filmmaking techniques with a virtual reality game engine projecting surreal ocean environments.

Presented in partnership with Stanford Live.

Major support for this presentation of Wu Tsang’s Of Whales is provided by Shawn and Brook Byers, Wayee Chu and Ethan Beard, Randi and Bob Fisher, Katie and Matt Paige, Sir Deryck and Lady Va Maughan, Lydia Shorenstein, and Ali and John Walecka.

Generous support is provided by John M. Sanger.

Additional support is provided by Susan Swig.