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SEBASTIEN LEON

One of Dallas’s truly unique experiences,

NorthPark Center has long placed an emphasis on exposing visitors to a hefty dose of world-class art alongside their retail therapy.

In recent years the institution has expanded its art programming even further through collaborations with the Dallas Contemporary

and the hosting of guided collection and exhibition tours.

 During SOLUNA, NorthPark Center will add an additional piece to the mix: a large-scale sound sculpture by Los Angeles artist Sebastien Leon titled, The Diffracted Symphony.

Inspired by the shape of a whale’s ribcage, the piece is symbolic of humanity’s devastating impact on the natural world, as we industrialize the Earth beyond the point of no return.

Overpopulation, pollution, climate change, manufacturing, and the draining of natural resources have resulted in falling biodiversity levels,

with species and ecosystems disappearing at an alarming rate in the wake of commercialization.

Calling to mind the carcass of a beached whale, Leon’s piece plays a heavily altered version of Verdi’s Requiem,

as performed by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, with each rib of the sculpture programmed individually, yet playing together like instruments.

“They play a requiem because it is a funeral mass, and I approached it as a mass for the environment, and particularly for bio-diversity,” says Leon.

The whale, being the largest mammal on Earth, is the ultimate emblem for the genius of creation.

 It is this very symbol that I wanted to portray as being endangered, calling for our help.”

One can hope that as visitors encounter the sea of cars and concrete outside the doors of NorthPark,

 they take time to reflect on the simple ways in which they can alter their lives for the sake of preserving the world beyond.

It’s not the first time the shopping center has used art to shine light on a humanitarian cause, and it surely will not be the last.

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