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Selected Seminars, Courses and Workshops

Assistant Professor in the Department of Film/Animation/Video at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

Senior Degree Projects in Open Media Studio and Critical Discourse, studio courses in Intermediate Video and Film/Video Installation.


Art and the Environment: Listening to the Distance

This graduate studio seminar will explore the artists role in understanding environmental change. It will focus on listening as a method of research and artistic experience, and will engage in examples from composers, artists and scientists who listen to the environment in different ways. The ocean will act as the case study, and the seminar will relate to current research in oceanography that enables live data to be accessed on land. We will study both psychological and technological approaches to listening and experiment with these techniques to expand our relationship to and understanding of environments. We will consider listening as a form of attention, that does not exclude images but actually enhances our ability to visualize and communicate, considering the implications of remote presence when listening to the distance. Students are required to actively participate through ideas and conversation, and to create engaging artistic experiences to communicate their research.

Designed as a 10 week Graduate seminar at DXARTS, University of Washington 2015.


Art and the Environment

Artists play an important role in investigating changing human relationships to the environment. In recent decades scientific research has revealed systemic environmental transformations on a global scale. Given this context, artists are increasingly aligning their roles within collaborative, social and technological projects that often emphasize complex interactions at scales beyond human perception. Beginning from this general background, the seminar operates on three integrated levels: research, lab visits and production. Topics include: making the inaudible audible and visual, underwater sound, sound and energetic transductions, field recordings and displaced sound/image, mapping visualizations and navigation. Presentations, readings and discussions locate these topics within a dynamic aesthetic and theoretical context, including land art and acoustic ecology, eco-art and locative media. Students design questions for research visits to science labs that specifically use audification, sonification and visualization to research aspects of the environment. Discussion covers a variety of artistic approaches to environmental technologies and research, to experiment with when working towards a final artistic project and exhibition.

Designed as a 10 week Graduate seminar at DXARTS, University of Washington 2014. The seminar included theory, practice and lab visits to UW scientists in Oceanography and Applied Physics. Students studied the Lagoon Cycle by Helen and Newton Harrison, Douglas Kahn’s Earth Sound Earth Signal, and welcomed David Dunn as guest lecturer. The seminar ended with ‘Sense | Signal’, a public exhibition of new art works developed by the graduate students during the course. For more info see course website: http://wiki.dxarts.washington.edu/groups/general/wiki/7effa/Art_and_the_Environment.html


Displaced Sound Walk Workshop

Field recordings often aim to merely audibly ‘represent’ environments that may be otherwise inaccessible to the listener, and in doing so neglect complex layerings of spaces and times inherent in recording and replaying sounds. My Displaced Sound Walks(Leipzig Contemporary Art Museum, 2012) furthers the process of hyper-aware listening while walking. Using a collaborative, workshop-like creative process, I play with prerecording the ambient sounds of a chosen routes and then listening back to these recordings on headphones while physically retracing the same path. Students learn to use basic technology to create a heightened awareness of interaction between the environment and their sensory perceptions.

For more info: http://yolandeharris.net/?nk_work=displaced-sound-walks


Experimental Video Art

An introduction to experimental video art. This course provides a theoretical and practical foundation for creating video and sound for installation, performance or screen, set within a context of historical and contemporary video art and experimental film. Students attend lectures, take workshops to learn skills individually and in small groups, and complete assignments to create original video works. Special guest Gary Hill.

Taught over 10 weeks as an advanced undergraduate Digital Video Foundations course at DXARTS, University of Washington 2014.  For more info see course website: http://wiki.dxarts.washington.edu/groups/general/wiki/fdef1/DXARTS_450__Digital_Video_Foundations_Spring_2014.html