Cory Diane

Scholarly Retreats
Type of work

Cory Diane is a composer, researcher, and MA Candidate in Music Composition at Tulane University. At A Studio in the Woods, they will continue work on a project that uses sound as a means for exploring the complex ecologies and histories of the Gulf of Mexico, centering one of its most endangered and little-known inhabitants, the recently-named Rice’s Whale, a being whose critically endangered status is connected directly to the sounds of industry and oil exploration in the Gulf.

While most people are aware that marine mammals rely on sound for basic survival, navigation, and communication, it’s less understood that oil companies and the U.S. military also rely on sound, that nearly every day of the year they use sonar guns to map the floor of the Gulf of Mexico for oil exploration. These sound waves have the capacity to kill animals who are close to their line of fire, to injure those who are further out, and, because of how sound travels underwater, to diminish the precious sonic space available for marine animals living across the entirety of the Gulf of Mexico. The prevalence of sonar blasts is just one contributing factor to soundscape of the Gulf, one with devastating consequences, that connects the well being of these marine mammals to those of us living in cancer alley, to all whose presence and futures are compromised by extractive fossil fuel economies.

Diane used their time at A Studio in the Woods to write an article and developed this into a multidisciplinary project, collaborating with scientists, musicians, and filmmakers.