Michael Harren

Performance, 2016, Grantee Link >

Michael Harren is a composer and multi-instrumentalist. He writes:

I received a grant that allowed me to spend a year as artist in residence at Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary from September 2015 to August 2016. During this time, I made monthly visits to the farm to work with the animals and write about the experience. The resulting piece, “The Animal Show,” was a multimedia performance piece that featured electro-acoustic music, spoken word, poetry, and songs about my experience at the sanctuary along with stories about the non-human animal relationships that shaped me throughout my life. During its three-night run at Dixon Place in New York City, approximately 250 people saw the show, and it got quite a bit of press, including Huffington Post and Sandra Bernhard’s Sirius XM radio show, Sandyland. I documented the residency on my blog and YouTube channel. The show begin a West Coast Tour in the summer of 2017. This project has propelled me forward as both an artist and an advocate for the animals in ways I did not expect.

The excerpt titled “Their Eyes” from Michael’s show was featured in the 2017 Compassion Arts & Culture and Animals Festival. The piece was inspired by his participation in an LA Animal Save vigil, where he witnessed and provided water to pigs before they entered a slaughterhouse. The practice of bearing witness and offering water to pigs on the ride to being killed was initiated by Anita Krajnc in 2010. She co-founded the Animal Save Movement, a grassroots organization coordinating vigils worldwide.

Since receiving his grant, Michael has published The Animal Book, which includes the entire text of the show along with performance photos, video stills, and stories of the show’s tour and Harren’s activism on the road. Michael continues his podcast, where he interviews activist artists, and has released a single called “New Life.

Michael was interviewed on the Our Hen House podcast (November 17, 2018). Listen to it here.