maps for unknowns
an augmented sound walk in the woods at Ox-Bow School of Art in Saugatuck, Michigan · summer 2018
In this walk, I placed speakers broadcasting a composition along a path in the woods to give my audience a way to navigate space through walking and listening. The broadcast composition used field recordings, voice and granular synthesis to conjure a non-linear narrative of losing and finding one’s way in the darkness of the woods. Recorded samples of bird calls taken on-site blended with my recorded voice as well as wind and bird sounds occurring in real time, blurring the boundary between synthetic and organic. The tranquil setting of the woods made it possible to hear sounds played back from multiple sources at once: voices and sounds relayed through radios, tape cassette players, a bluetooth speaker and a guitar amp, bouncing off the trees from both ends of the trail.
above: installation documentation
Below is sonic documentation of the Maps for Unknowns installation. These excerpts are a mix of the original composition with field recordings taken on-site of the installed radios broadcasting the composition. I mixed them this way to give the listener the closest sense of what I was trying to achieve sonically with the installed radios.
The sound composition was created in response to a series of prints and collages created as part of the class. I responded to the prints synaesthetically with sound, using them as graphic scores for the composition. The text of the compositions emerged from exercises and discussions from the curriculum of Ayanah Moor and Krista Franklin’s class, Black in the Woods: Representation and the Pastoral.
I am grateful for the time, space and community at Ox-Bow that allowed me to enter into a zone of intuitive material exploration across media. Thanks to Ayanah Moor, Krista Franklin, and my comrades and classmates from Black in the Woods for co-creating common space for discussion, justice, empathy and unfolding.