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Betty Beaumont


Listen…Listen Again, 2023

Speakers, display screen, raspberry-pi computer, sensor, cables, shelf, brackets, hardware

In addressing the critical, universal issue of language loss, Listen…Listen Again is an installation of newly re-mastered audio recordings selected to highlight a linguistically diverse array of dormant or extinct languages. Including Atsugewi, Pazeh, Yaaku, Gilyak, Ainu, Kumiai, Livonian, Mono, and Olrat, the piece features ten songs from a dormant language song archive of over 400 recordings that elaborate aspects of culture beyond the spoken word. Using a Raspberry-Pi computer coded in Python, the songs play at random when the motion detector is triggered by the presence of the viewer. After the song plays, text displayed on the screen identifies the language the song was sung in and, if known, the number of its remaining speakers in the world, and/or the name of the singer. Positioning language as an integral part of identity, Listen…Listen Again seeks to counter homogeneity, supports the revitalization of dormant languages, and raises awareness of language attrition.

The Journey, 1980

16 mm film transferred to video, 7:24 min.

Ocean Landmark Virtual World, 2000

Video of virtual reality, 2:10 min.

Imagining Imaging, 2011

Video sequence of photographic prints, 1:15 min.

The three works document and deconstruct the creation and installation of Beaumont’s monumental social sculpture eco project Ocean Landmark (1978–1980) -- a collaboration with scientists and engineers that transformed 500 tons of processed coal waste into an underwater sculpture.  This has become a thriving reef environment and a resource that enables ecosystems to thrive, species to prosper, and people to be fed. Fundamental to the work is  that its integrity resides in its invisibility — that is, it can only be imagined.

The Journey, narrated by Beaumont, is a documentary about Ocean Landmark which reveals the expository layering of its systems at work. It details the conceptual base for the multi-year project, the nature of the collaboration, the selection of the site, and the creation and installation of 17,000 blocks made from coal waste on the continental shelf, 40 miles outside of New York Harbor.

Ocean Landmark Virtual World is a virtual world using VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) technology, that creates a visualization of what the creation of Ocean Landmark would look like from an underwater perspective.

Imagining Imaging includes technologically mediated images such as side-scan sonar (an image detecting technology for underwater environments), microscopic views of biological growth, and renderings of complex data to provide yet another vantage point from which to understand the immense undertaking of Ocean Landmark.


New York artist Betty Beaumont continues to create sculpture, photography, installations, public-interventions, and new-media. She has received numerous awards including University of California Berkeley Distinguished Alumni Award, and Creative Capital, NEA, NYSCA and Pollock-Krasner Foundation grants. Her works is shown in numerous international museums including Centre Pompidou-Metz

(France), Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Alexandria, Egypt), National Museum of Modern Art (Kyoto and Tokyo), Museum Het-Domein (Sittard, Netherlands), Bibliotéca-Nacional José-Marti (Havana, Cuba), Letenske-Plani (Prague, Czech-Republic), Whitney, Queens, Hudson River, Katonah and MoMA PS1 museums.

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