Acoustic Ecology is a relatively new field emerging at the intersection of a variety of disciplines and being defined by a variety of issues. A portion of this workshop will be focused on exploring the roles acoustic ecology can play in the designing, building, and experiencing of different environments. This will allow participants to transform critical relationships with sound into something that acts as a physical, theory driven lens through which to question a particular experience or context. What does it mean to actively listen? What objects facilitate the questioning of a sonic environment? Furthermore, the assessment of wanted and unwanted sound is a judgment. The separation of noise and signal is at the same time a technical exercise and subjective process. What conditions drive this assessment?
Participants will work to discover ways in which future forms of listening can be proposed and evaluated through critical engagement with materiality, context, and value. The end goal of this Listening Instruments workshop is to design and build modified headphones for specific contexts that ask critical questions about how we listen and the value we place on sound in our surroundings.
sounds.lines.objects.spaces Sunday, May 26 Workshop Leaders: the2vvo Lena Pozdnyakova & Eldar Tagi
sounds.lines.objects.spaces is a workshop designed as a one-day on-site research of the sonic data extracted from the surrounding common surfaces, and a study on sculptural interpretation of these findings as juxtaposed to the environment itself.
Spaces exist without the human presence, however once the human is present - the space becomes the site. This workshop is interested in the feedback between the self-evolving space and human intervention. There are two main elements to the workshop: abstraction and experience. Abstraction refers to subjective interpretation of the environment via sculptural modifications of the existing objects, thus assigning new meaning onto common natural landscape. Experience involves direct amplification of the present natural surfaces, promoting utilization of the sense of hearing in the process of site/object study.
The workshop consists of three parts: mapping, extracting, sculpting. During the mapping phase, participants will be scanning the environment, selecting sites, and designating surfaces. During the extraction part, we will be exploring the sonic signatures of the found surfaces via vibration speakers, effectively altering the landscape acoustics. Finally, the area will be subjected to a sculptural make-over, resulting in a series of illusive multi-dimensional resonating site-objects.
Blue Screen is an electric RGB blue that is imagined as the exposed canvas of the computer screen. Like the bits of exposed canvas in a Cézanne, it reminds us of the physical presence of representations. Blue Screen is a workshop that will focus on iPhone video collage — both as a mode of spatial representation and as something spatially present. The workshop will focus on an understanding of images as being both representational as well as physically present— they have a scale, material, and spatial presence.
Blue Screen will focus on challenging notions of Western Perspective. Through a dérive inspired series of short structured walks and GPS surveys of Morongo Valley, it will aim to represent the landscape through visual structures which it itself invents. Through this, the Blue Screen project will introduce students to a working method that involves moving through the world as opposed to sitting behind a desk. The workshop will culminate in a video installation work that aims to bring the material and spatial presence of video to the fore.
Ebb (and Flow) Tuesday, May 28 Workshop Leaders: i/thee Martin Hitch & Lucas Hitch
Ebb (and Flow) is a nebulous mountain floating in the desert—a kaleidoscopic mirage aiming not just to blur the line between art, nature, and knowledge, but to remove the line completely. The structure consists of a series of tiered platforms that flow around the site separated by a series of syncopated wooden supports. The simplicity of the concept lends itself to a surprisingly complex, yet immediately accessible, design. A beautiful symbiosis of architecture, nature, and people. The result is an extremely light, permeable structure, a spacious composition that lets the surrounding environment fill in the gaps.
The workshop will start with a phenomenal analysis of our immediate and extended site guided by the methods of Christopher Tilley as laid out in his book Interpreting Landscapes, in an attempt to better understand/document the cultural, spiritual, and physical energies latent in the site. This ‘data of thought, and spirit’ will then be directly utilized in the creation of the structure, the final form of which will be hand drawn and cut by students on site. This way, the project is less about the implementation of a design based off set drawings, and more about the application of data, in real time, into a site-specific structure.
Horizons Made of Wool Wednesday, May 29 Workshop Leaders: Roundhouse Noémie Despland-Lichtert & Brendan Sullivan Shea
You can tell a lot about a place by looking at its horizon.
Horizons Made of Wool will explore the current state and potential futures of Morongo Valley through a series of exurban labs in code and craft learning from its horizon, a line between geo and atmos which participants will survey and remix. Through an exurban lab, part workshop and part exploration, and architectural documentation of the landscape, Roundhouse and its participants will document the shifting character of the horizon at the edge of the metropolis. The lab will explore the existing quantitative, morphological, and artefactual conditions of the built and natural environment.
The workshop will survey the site, through walking. Taking notice of little bits; the sky, its color intensity, the dirt, its grain size, participants will photograph and use tools; a cyanometer & sedimentisizer. Participants will recap back at base camp, talking, collecting and logging. Next, the workshop will code, process, reconstruct, and remix some of the behaviors of horizon—particles and grains turned into pixels and stitch. Recasting these bits of atmosphere and geology onto the screen of a cell phone and a cross-stitch, workshop participants will find abstractions of horizon within the procedural measurements of site.
The workshop will culminate in a new visual performance, scored by archival audio. Participants will project their horizons of code onto screens of stitch while accompanied by the sounds of Lost Horizon, a 1946 radio program.
Nature is Not our Natural Habitat Thursday, May 30 Workshop Leader:
Rebecca Looringh-van Beeck
Fieldworks is a human action. Humans dissect and observe a site of interest, though often disrupt the landscape through the process of extracting, ordering and sharing information.
Since at least the European Enlightenment, Nature and Society have been positioned as two separate sciences. We rely on a reformatting of the “wild” for our gain. For many, our wild is the city, consumerism and an increasingly image-reliant society. However, these two worlds are highly interlinked. And yet, when we are removed from our city comforts and live momentarily in the harsh landscape of the High Desert, this wild can be experienced as an unfamiliar obstacle.
The workshop will begin with anthropological research, observing how participants react to their new wild in order to compare moments of ease and discomfort. These reflections are to be reacted to through the design of performance movements/rooms: constructing and framing nature through human action (or, in other words, human nature). The performances will shape and be shaped by the landscape, changing perceptions of the field.
desert.vfx Friday, May 31 Workshop Leaders: Leah Wulfman & Maxime Lefebvre
A palm tree, a ladder, a cactus, a door, a humanoid, and a lamp walk into a bar… They are each downloaded from Turbosquid.
Readily captured and capturable, interior and exterior worlds become part of our models and renders—architecture itself. Architectural design today could be said to be more about the processing—an interpretation and editing—of what is and what could be, and less about ever designing the world anew—carte blanche, on a paper or in a rhino vacuum.
The architectural threshold is now akin to a green-screen set—a traditional special effects prop used for composing and overlapping two images. What is interior and exterior to the computer, the building and the world now operate back and forth in incessant iteration. The green screen will be used as a base structure to stitch and cross realities: worlds simulated and actual, the landscape, the body, plants, objects and other artifacts.
Workshop participants will use and design with green-screen sets, to edit in and edit out the landscape and its many features with content, with the final result culminating in a film, play, or puppet show. The workshop will survey contemporary techniques and emerging ideas to capture, draw, model, and render two- and three-dimensional props and puppets drawn from the features within our desert context and beyond.