Patrick and the Whale / Patrick Dykstra (US), Wolfgang Knöpfler (AT), Credit: Ars Electronica – Magdalena Sick-Leitner

Patrick and the Whale

Patrick Dykstra (US), Wolfgang Knöpfler (AT)

Ars Electronica Center, Deep Space 8K
Sun 10. Sep 2023 16:30 – 18:30

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For years, Patrick Dykstra has dedicated his life to traveling the globe, following and diving with whales. Over the years, Patrick has learned how whales see and hear, how they perceive other creatures in the water and how they behave at close quarters. He has a finely tuned sense and knows how to act when within touching distance of a whale – what to do, what not to do and when. This allows him to consistently get closer than anyone else alive – a truly unique skill.

Patrick recently experienced a life-changing event. In Dominica, he had a close encounter with a female sperm whale. She seemed to be curious about him, coming within touching distance, pulsing him with her sonar. She studied him as he studied her. Patrick felt an overwhelming sense that she was genuinely trying to communicate.

In Patrick and the Whale, we follow Patrick as he travels to Dominica again to find this special whale he named “Dolores” so she can help him show us the hidden world of her species. Using stunning underwater footage, Patrick explores the fascinating nature of the sperm whale, attempting to shine a light on its intelligence and complexity, as well as highlighting its current and past relationship with humankind. The film follows his personal journey and explores the psychology of a man who has sacrificed everything in his single-minded quest to connect with and understand one of the largest creatures in the ocean.

Please note: Limited capacity, registration required – in addition to a valid ticket, you need a (free) ticket reservation for the respective event in advance. Reservations for Deep Space 8K events must be scanned on-site no later than 15min before the programme starts.

Language: English


Director and Editor: Mark Fletcher
Producers: Walter Köhler, Wolfgang Knöpfler
Composers: H. Scott Salinas, Matthew Atticus Berger
Underwater Photographers: Gail Jenkinson, Patrick Dykstra, Romain Barats
Executive Producers: James Reed, Alexander Nanau, Dinah Czezik-Müller, Michael Frenschkowski
Colorist: Lee Niederkofler
Sound Designer: Bernhard Zorzi
Re-Recording Mixer: Michael Plöderl
Title song: “Nostalgia” by Alice Phoebe Lou, Copyright © 2023 Terra Mater Studios Gmb