MOBY DICK; or, The Whale (2022), Dir. Wu Tsang, Prod. Schauspielhaus Zürich

Wu Tsang’s ‘MOBY DICK; or, The Whale’

  • Thu 16 – Sat 18 November 2023
  • 8 – 9.30 pm

In ‘MOBY DICK; or, The Whale’, award-winning filmmaker and visual artist Wu Tsang and the collective Moved by the Motion embark upon a feature-length, silent-film telling of Herman Melville’s great American novel. Presented in its Los Angeles premiere for The Performance Project at Hauser & Wirth Downtown Los Angeles, the film includes original music composed by Caroline Shaw and Andrew Yee with Asma Maroof, performed live by Monday Evening ConcertsEnsemble in Residence, ECHOI, conducted by Jonathan Hepfer. 

Read more from the New York Times: ‘An Artist’s Queer Take on ‘Moby-Dick.’’

This adaptation, written by Sophia Al-Maria and directed by Tsang, follows the white whale above and below the surface of the water, developing a visual cosmology that resists the exploration and exploitation of the earth under imperial colonialism. The narrative is interwoven with extracts by the Sub-Sub-Librarian, a character played by Fred Moten, and tackles the novel’s subterranean currents, encountering the resistance of the ship’s hydrarchy, or organizational structure, and collectives of ‘mariners, renegades and castaways,’ as described by historian C.L.R. James.

The staging of this adaptation by Moved by the Motion pairs the classic story of the whaler’s ‘floating factory‘ with the beginnings of the film industry in silent film. The film was shot entirely on a soundstage combining silent-era filmmaking techniques with a virtual reality game engine projecting surreal ocean environments.

‘MOBY DICK; or, The Whale’ is produced by the Schauspielhaus Zürich and co-commissioned by LUMA Foundation, Superblue, TBA21—Academy, HARTWIG ART FOUNDATION, The Shed, DE SINGEL and the Whitney Museum of American Art.


Tickets are $15 each. All ticket proceeds will be donated to Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles' 2023 Charitable Partner of the Year, the House of AWT Project. To inquire about our accessible pricing options, email Click here to purchase tickets.

About Wu Tsang

Wu Tsang is an award-winning filmmaker and visual artist. Tsang’s work crosses genres and disciplines, from narrative and documentary films to live performance and video installations. Tsang is a MacArthur 'Genius' Fellow, and her projects have been presented at museums, biennials, and film festivals internationally. Awards include 2016 Guggenheim Fellow (Film/Video), Creative Capital, Rockefeller Foundation and Warhol Foundation. She has collaborated with brands including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Marni, Saint Heron x Woolmark and Swarovski. Tsang received her BFA (2004) from the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and an MFA (2010) from University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Currently Tsang works in residence at Schauspielhaus Zurich, as a director of theater with the collective Moved by the Motion.

About Monday Evening Concerts

​Founded in 1939, Monday Evening Concerts (MEC) is one of the longest running series in the world devoted to contemporary music. MEC has gained international admiration for its presentation of music frequently new, sometimes old and always uniquely stimulating. Musical history is made at Monday Evening Concerts, whether it was the American debut of Pierre Boulez, world premieres of Igor Stravinsky, or the appearances here of such artists as Marino Formenti and the Arditti Quartet. Presenting the finest local and visiting artists, MEC is the place to hear adventurous new music in Los Angeles.Monday Evening Concerts is a seven-time national winner of the ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming and is the subject of a full-length book entitled ‘Evenings On and Off the Roof,’ written by Dorothy Lamb Crawford.