Finding Silence in a Loud Polluted World: A 360 Video from the New York Times


“Sanctuaries of Silence” takes you on a virtual tour into one of Earth’s last surviving bastions of true quiet — the Hoh Rain Forest, in Washington State.

Shooting in wonderfully immersive 360 videos, directors Adam Loften and Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee follow acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton as he explores the mossy, green heart of silence. Vaughan-Lee’s previous Op-Doc, “Vanishing Island,” also took us to a place physically endangered by modernity — Louisiana’s Isle de Jean Charles.

In “Sanctuaries of Silence,” the threat is not so much to a place, as to our very capacity to encounter the natural world on its own terms. As Hempton puts it, “Silence isn’t the absence of something, but the presence of everything.”


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