The Whale Hunt

— Jonathan Harris

Interactive Design Prize


The Whale Hunt(Interactive design) URL:http://thewhalehunt.org/
The Whale Hunt is a storytelling experiment. In May 2007 I spent ten days living with a family of Inupiat Eskimos in Barrow, Alaska, during their annual spring whale hunt. I documented the entire experience with a plodding sequence of 3,214 photographs, beginning with the taxi ride to Newark airport, and ending with the butchering of the second whale on the frozen Arctic ocean, seven days later. The photographs were taken at five-minute intervals, even while sleeping (using a chronometer), establishing a constant “photographic heartbeat”. In moments of high adrenaline, this photographic heartbeat would quicken (to a maximum rate of 37 pictures in five minutes while the first whale was being cut up), mimicking the changing pace of my own heartbeat. The photographs are then presented in an online framework that allows viewers to shift between individual moments and high-level patterns, following different threads and constructing their own experience of the story.

Jonathan Harris
Combining elements of computer science, anthropology, visual art and storytelling, Jonathan Harris designs systems to explore and explain the human world.Ê He has made projects about human emotion (wefeelfine.org), human desire (love-lines.org), modern mythology (universe.daylife.com), science (phylotaxis.com), news (tenbyten.org), anonymity (justcurio.us) and language (wordcount.org), and created the world’s largest time capsule (timecapsule.yahoo.com), which was translated into 10 languages. He studied computer science at Princeton University, and was awarded a 2004 Fabrica fellowship. His work has been exhibited at Le Centre Pompidou (Paris), and The Museum of Modern Art (New York).Ê He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.