Ars Electronica 2021

Atmosphere of Sound

UCLA Art Sci Center’s garden is organized around the themes of our 2024 Getty Pacific Standard Time: Art x Science x LA exhibition, Atmosphere of Sound: Sonic Art in Times of Climate Disruption. We will present a series of artist-led sound walks and panels around the relationship between sound as a post-object art form, and our shifting relationship to the world of things as necessitated by climate change. Our garden will be organized around key questions such as: “Can we learn to connect empathically with non-human species such that we come to appreciate their value as sentient beings?” “How might we expand our acoustic senses in order to raise our appreciation of the diversity of patterns of communication beyond human language?” And “What is the value of artistic collaborations for scientific researchers working on urgent environmental issues?” Sound art is a bridge to connect with scientists who are frequently more familiar with instrumental music and other sound-based forms of art. Additionally, many scientists are engaged in work that deals with inaudible frequencies and waves that can be transformed into sound waves and made accessible to audiences. The focus on sound art is intended to de-privilege sight as a sense that encourages false certainties, in favor of sound that provokes an inquiry-based response on the part of the viewer or participant. Artists in residence at Art Sci are developing sound walks as interactive platforms for embodied connection.

Hourly Schedule

Day 1

9am - 1pm
Breathe to Flow
Walking and breathing meditation led by Anna Nacher and members of the Art Sci collective. Audiences are required to RSVP and encouraged to record and add 30 seconds of their breath to the growing Breath Library. The way we, as humans, participate in the vibrational fields and flows of energy of the Planet Earth is embodied practice, even if the process often remains somewhat mysterious, unnoticed or unacknowledged. This workshop will explore how a human vocalization, which is nothing else than amplified and conscious breathing, can become a practice of inquiry into the planetary water cycle. The human body is a fluid phenomenon, not only because the average amount of water in human organism ranges between 45-75%, depending on the particular organ or tissue (majority of which constitutes intracellular fluid), but also because it is incorporated into the planetary cycle, in which water constantly changes from liquid to vapor to ice, circulating around, through, and above the Earth. Through a simple act of breathing we may participate in the whole range of scales and time flows: for the terrestrial atmosphere, a given water molecule, the one we breathe in and breathe out as oxygen, might spend in the atmosphere 15-23 days on the average. What if the way we breathe and vocalize impacts the water cycles? Can we turn our bodies into water cycles measuring units and the instruments of cooperation with weather patterns? What if even the tiniest movement of the oxygen in our nostrils and lungs and even the slightest resonation of the vocal cords, chest, and abdomen can affect a rainstorm? Meditating on such questions may provide an interesting departure point for both scientific inquiry and embodied practice of breathing and vocalizing.

Day 2

9am - 1pm
That Unseen Vibrance
Can our conscious listening effect the world around us? That unseen vibrance. These are dense vibrations, larger than our bodies, larger than our eardrums. They work through us. They present as oceanic. I have a sense of being inside the sound, submerged in another medium, molten, or perhaps growing wings. Of enormous pressure depth yet vibrance shimmer. To dive into the oceanic with our own airborne sounds, feet on the ground, ears underwater. What animal could hear like this? Imagine an entwined sonic future of humans and ocean creatures. The pandemic-induced ‘anthropause’ in human activity, when oceans and land became suddenly and significantly quieter, offered both a window into possible sonic futures, and importantly, an opportunity to reflect back and hear ourselves more clearly. Yolande Harris’ audio visual worlds setup hope that an expanded sonic imagination can contribute to re-balancing human relationships to our environments. Sound is the harbinger of such a renewed relatedness. Yolande will lead remote underwater sound walks along the Pacific coast as part of ‘Melt Me Into The Ocean’ (2018) and present work with collaborating scientist Ari Feidlaender using video and sounds from tagged whales in ‘From a Whale’s Back’ (2020). Her most recent highly resonant sound work presents the oceanic with dense vibrations, larger than our bodies, larger than our eardrums, sounds that work through us, in ‘That Unseen Vibrance’ (2021)