Under Water Food Signs, 2012

Performance and installation based on contributions to the Sense Correspondence project by Luke Rendell and Salome Schmucki.

First performed with Klara Hobza on april 13th 2012, during the opening of The Imagines exhibition at Galerie Metro (Berlin, April - May DE). Installation after the performance developed for the solo show Objets Reposés at the M_Museum (Leuven, June - September 2012 BE)


Source materials:

Sound recordings of a group of sperm whales and corresponding research materia by Luke Rendell (Marine biologist), a communication drawing by Salome Schmucki (designer);


Preparation and serving of the Austrian dish 'Mohnnudeln' (poppy seed dish) Improvising the dot drawing following the rhythm of the sperm whale communication (combinations of clicks) Reading of the letter and abstract of doctoral thesis on sperm whale communication Positioning of the papier maché object Whale Potatoe;

Installation elements:

Papier mâché object Whale Potatoe, sound recordings of sperm whales, wall drawing with adhesive dots, performance documentation folder;

Under Water Food Signs, performance on April 13th 2012, The Imagines, Galerie Metro, Berlin DE

For her current project Sense Correspondence Ines Lechleitner has invited artists,
scientists and writers to participate by sending her a description of a sensory experience in
drawing, sound or text. The material received by 45 contributors exists as an ongoing collection of ideas


In Underwater Food Signs Lechleitner creates links between her interest in animal cultures, non verbal exchange and the culinary transformation of forms. The Performance is based on two contributions to the Sense Correspondence project: sound recordings of a group of sperm whales and corresponding research material by Luke Rendell (Marine biologist) and a communication drawing by Salome Schmucki (designer).
During the performance Lechleitner combines the underwater recordings and an introduction into the studies of animal cultures with the preparation of an Austrian dish called ‘Mohnnudeln’.
She is assisted by the artist Klara Hobza.


one of the sperm whale recordings (0.33min) contributed by Luke Rendell, played back during the performance and the installation


Skizze 1, communication drawing contributed by Salome Schmucki

Under Water Food Signs, performance on April 13th 2012, The Imagines, Galerie Metro, Berlin DE

Under Water Food Signs, installation during solo show Objets Reposés, M_Museum, Leuven BE

visualisation of sperm whale communication, extract of thesis by Luke Rendell / to read extract - please click on image above

Letter from Luke Rendell to Ines Lechleitner, sent on January 24th 2011, read aloud by Klara Hobza during the performance in Berlin, April 2012:


Hi Ines,

I am sorry, I hope this is not too late. Here is a sperm whale sound file of two animals exchanging codas. Your project is about the relationship between senses so I'll try, ineptly, to describe what the recording evokes for me:

- firstly, there is an overwhelming physical sensation of space and distance - this is a quality that seems ever present in recordings of the deep ocean and I suppose it reflects us responding to an auditory experience similar to what we get when we know we are in a large space, like a building, except here the space is vaster than any building - but there is something unique in that deep subsonic ever present rumble that is just heightened and highlighted by the lighter, closer wave and water noises that break it up. This sensation is brought home even more not by the whale clicks themselves but their echoes - they are so distinct from the actual clicks that initially one wonders if they are actually distant animals responding, but the patterns match too well. Still, to be that seperated, the sound has to have travelled for kilometres to the seabed and back - again, instinctively our senses convert this for us into an awareness of space.

- the clicks themselves are almost like physical impacts, sharp, clear and close when compared to the amorphous soundfield that permeates the background, and when the two whales begin overlapping each other it almost feels like you are being pushed from side to side - like watching a superfast tennis match! - as you try and follow both sides of the conversation that is being eavesdropped. Visually I guess I experience this as flashes of light against a deep dark background.

- the patterning of the exchange makes me think of dancing, bizarrely, the exchanges seem that ritualised, each partner engaging then politely pausing to let the echoes past.

I hope this is something like you were looking for.

Good luck with the project,




Under Water Food Signs, performance on April 13th 2012, The Imagines, Galerie Metro, Berlin DE