Sensible Garden

June 29, 2019

“We like to imagine ourselves as rational beings who think and speak, yet to live means first and foremost to look, taste, feel, or smell the world around us. (Emanuele Coccia)

During the UnGreen Summer School, taking place from July 1 – 3, as a part of RIXC pre-festival programme, the students from HfG Karlsruhe – Germany and Liepaja University – Latvia, will be performing field studies experimenting with sensing, listening and visualizing , in order to create individual and collaborative artworks, that explore the complex relationship between technologies and ecology, nature and infrastructure, human and non-human worlds.

Isabella Münnich. “Sensing Underwater” (2019), video, audio, interactive installation.

Ecology and our relationship with nature plays an important role today in post-media art practices, as it often uses ideas from the open cultures, about sharing resources and tackling social issues through participatory and social mechanisms, as well as addressing issues such as renewable energy, sustainability, biodiversity, or interspecies relations. In addition to Felix Guattari’s proposed Three Ecologies – environmental, social and mental (subjective) – the importance of the Forth – the “non-human” ecology (Donna Haraway, Eric Kluitenberg, etc.).

By combining the artistic with the social and the natural, the scientific and the emotional, the sensible with the actual, the students have developed immersive artworks, proposing their visions of extended our collaboration capabilities towards the human and non-human communication.
* artworks by Karlsruhe students:

The artworks by HfG Karlsruhe students – Isabella Münnich, Vanessa Bosch, Christopher von Frankenberg and Janis Zeckai aim at building “techo-ecological” perspective, exploring collaboration and communication capabilities between the human and non-human (worlds and species).

“Metal, Coal & Containerships –
Rheinhafen Karlsruhe at Night as a
Field for Soundscape Experimentation ”
by Christopher von Frankenberg
“Metal, Coal & Containerships” distorts the notion of the “World as a soundscape” by Robert Murray Schaffer where he focused mainly on “natural”-sounds. The industrial sounds of “Metal, Coal & Containerships” consist of field recordings all recorded in one night at the Rheinhaven Karlsruhe partly used for sound-synthesis in order to examine the capabilities of field recordings as input for sound-processing, exploring the relations between the recorded reverbs at Rheinhafen and the processed recordings, arranging them in a new narrative like a 2k19 version of Luc Ferraris “Music Promenade”.

“Sensing Underwater”
by Isabella Münnich
This artistic research project is based on the captivating behavior of living organisms in the deep sea and how they communicate through light.
In an ecosystem without sunlight animals perform a beautiful symbiosis with bioluminescent bacteria and exchange information through electric signals. Just in recent years, technology allowed scientists to explore these patterns and this microbic world was recognized as an indispensable part of the underwater ecosystem.

By performing field studies in the lakes and ponds near Karlsruhe, experimenting with contact mic recordings and underwater video, the artist aims to explore the unique environments of underwater life. An additional sound is produced by an analog circuit, using water and materials from the nearby sea. It changes as the human comes in touch.
„Sensing Underwater“ redefines social interaction by expanding it to embodied ways of sharing information, creating a new sensible way of communication to reconnect with the aquatic world.

 “Coral Bank” 
by Vannessa Bosh
Coral reefs are one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth and crucial to the environmental health onshore, but might be the first to die out from man-hand. Not only are they providing a home for more than a quarter of all the marine living beings, but as “rainforests of the sea” they contain an important part for the underwater photosynthesis. Due to global warming, aquatic acidification, deep sea fishing, oil platforms, transcontinental undersea cable lines and pollution of the oceans, coral reefs get irreversibly damaged. Coral bleaching is only one of the many symptoms. For their rescue and support, marine conservationists cultivate reefs artificially, sometimes even create whole marine national parks. Common methods include the usage of synthetic materials like 3d printed metal grids, concrete and plastics, like PVC, which provide the support of growth of corals or just restore and stabilize still existing reefs.

‘coral bank’ displays the cyborg nature of these artificial reefs in visual and auditive forms, as it contains natural recordings as well as artificial created footage, that picks up the structures and attributes of coral colonies. In this way this artwork creates at the same time a naturally familiar and synthetically strange atmosphere.

The title of this multimedia art piece refers to the capitalist meaning behind artificial reefs. As these ecosystems are being targeted by the tourist branch and fishery, their construction provides jobs and revenue. So the question stays unanswered: Will the environmental impact outweigh the economic prosperity?

Janis Zeckai

Domain.-esque is an disorientating journey into the processes of adaptation within systems and their constantly changing environmental properties.

As the visual and the auditive blur into an interchangeable construct, natural and artificial phenomena become objects of non-origin and are beginning to redefine their relationship as a whole.

* artworks by young artists and Liepaja University Art Research Lab students

“Waves, lights, shadows.”
By Paula Vitola
Performance and a workshop which explores possibilities of
creating sound using sunlight and shadows.

Ieva Vīksne
Artwork SYNK IN explores biometric data – brain waves – reading devices as an interface in a virtual reality environment. The user has the opportunity to immerse in the depths of both the water and their own mind. Experiencing seeming control over the ongoing process, user is given the chance to see what actual power they have over their mind and the flow.

“Kihnu Sadam”
By Ivo Taurins
2018. gada vasarā pēc ekspedīcijas uz Igaunijas Ķīļu salu (Kihnu) tika savākti dažādi lauku ieraksti, kā arī pēc sarunas ar vietējo zvejnieku gūts neliels ieskats salas nesenajā pagātnē, kad, ienākot padomju varai pagājušajā gadsimtā, daudzi zvejnieki tika izsūtīti vai nošauti. Zvejniecību pamazām nomaina kolhozs ar vistu audzēšanas fermām, un, zivju skaitam sarūkot, mūsdienās tāda īsta zvejošana palikusi vien dodoties uz Norvēģijas krastiem. Salas zvejnieku ostas krastā šobrīd rūsē vēl nesagrieztie zvejas kuģīši, bet pa salu ganās aitu un govju ganāmpulki. Ne mazāk svarīgi, ka lielākajā daļā salas nav tik ierastais pilsētas trokšņu piesārņojums.

Bez tam izrādās, ka salinieku agrāk tik svarīgā ostas ar savu skanējumu ir pateicīga lauku ierakstiem un maniem mākslinieciskajiem nodomiem. Kihnu sadam pamatā izmantots lauku ieraksts no salas ostas jahtu piestātnes. Jahtu piestātnes laipu čīkstēšana un jūras viļņu šķelšanās veido savdabīgu ritmiski piesātinātu skanējumu, kas piesaistīja manu uzmanību un vēlāk iedvesmoja radīt skaņu mākslas kompozīciju. Tehniski no lauku ieraksta ar skaņas frekvenču analizatora algoritmu tika iegūta skaņas avota fundamentālā frekvence attiecīgā lineārā skanējuma posmā. Iegūtā frekvence tālāk tika izmantota sintezātora un semplera darbināšanai. Tādā veidā ģeneratīvi sekojot lauka ieraksta skaņas notikumiem tika veidots jauns mākslīgs kompozīcijas skanējums. Papildus ar koda palīdzību tika ģenerētas sintezatora un semplera pitch bend, mod wheel, dažu parametru, kā arī nošu ilguma un velocity vērtības. Kompozīcijā saglabāti arī oriģinālie lauka ieraksta fragmenti, lai varētu sajust sintezētās telpas un brīvā lauka skanējuma atšķirības.

“Reality unmasked”
Renārs Garda
Take a look over the horizon – unmask the reality! View the borders of perception, where code, algorithms and mechanism of our reality is constructed. Maybe we are living in another virtual reality?

“Deep Borehole”
Milda Ziemane
Borehole – Water extraction well – a water-based drainage system for receiving groundwater.
Deep Listening – listening, from a deep, receptive, and caring place in oneself, to deeper and often subtler levels of meaning and intention in the other person.
Multi channel sound installation gives an experience of “sound drops”.

Landscape Piece and Remixes from 44,320
Chelsea Polk with Buck McDaniel and Jacob Kirkwood
In collaboration with Buck McDaniel and Jacob Kirkwood (Cleveland, OH., US), Landscape Piece consists of recorded instruments associated with Baroque pastoral music within a vast electronic environment. A swath of oboes play long, horizontal lines derivative of English Renaissance composers William Byrd or Thomas Tallis, while a small ensemble of violins play virtuosic stylized folk gestures.
44,320 is the story of eight bogs. These spongy pieces of earth contain matter from tens of thousands of years ago and distinctive histories. Various cultures have used the bogs as sources of energy, medicine, preservation, and even sacrifice. They have been the basis of shared stories and mythologies, and the sites of artistic endeavors. Bogs remain vital to the earth, functioning as carbon sinks, and today are nature preserves and tourist sites.

* about
The “Sensible Garden” artworks in a related to the “Techno-Ecologies” seminar by Rasa Smite, guest professor at HfG, and Dr. Smite is artist and researcher, working with science and emerging technologies, founding director of RIXC Center for New Media Culture in Riga, Latvia (http://rixc.org) (http://smitesmits.com)

Contact: rasa.smite@rixc.org