Environmental Listening with Drew Mcdowall, Kathy Hinde And Matthew Olden






CAMP is a residential arts facility in the French Pyrenees. It's a place where great art is made, new movements are formed, new ideas are explored and groundbreaking people are nurtured. CAMP is located in Aulus les Bains, the last village before the France/Spain Pyrenean frontier chain. The location is spectacular - we are nestled at 750m above sea level, surrounded by snowcapped peaks over 3000m high, ancient forests and cascading waterfalls. There are eagles, lammergeiers, vultures, ibex and bears. Walk out of the residency, and within ten minutes you are completely alone in one of the most beautiful mountain landscapes in Europe. Aulus les Bains is also a spa village - there are hot water springs, and a thermal spa in the village to take advantage of the healing and relaxing properties of the water.
Workshop dates: 07/06/2023 - 2023-06-12
Taking place in the rich sonic environment of the Haute Pyrenees in springtime, this workshop will explore different perspectives on environmental listening - beyond field recording, we'll examine the place and role of humans in the sonic landscape, the potential of natural sound in composition, and how we can interact with location-based sound to create instruments in the landscape. Our explorations will be guided by three expert listeners: Drew McDowall, Kathy Hinde, and Matthew Olden.

Drew will be focusing on environmental listening as something inseparable from our experience of it, moving away from the idea of the listener as an observer and impartially outside of the environment. Drew will place the human environment firmly in nature and not as something separate from or in a binary relationship to it. We'll explore documentation of Drew's experience of living in NYC, normally one of the noisiest cities in the world, during lockdown; when all of the normal city sounds were gone, and what was left was not silence but a rich sonic terrain of bird song, animal, human and insect communication. Through ambisonic recordings made around the city and in the Catskill Mountains before, during and after that period, and video (shot on iPhone) that accompanies and documents some of Drew's listening walks around NYC and other places, we'll explore his experience of, and perspective on, environmental listening. We'll explore the epic (and sonically rich) terrain of the Pyrenees using binaural recording techniques. Back at CAMP, Drew will show how he uses modular synthesis to manipulate field recordings of environmental sound; time stretching and altering the frequency and spectral components of the sound to reveal hidden and surprising sonic landscapes.

Kathy and Matt's section of the workshop will focus on listening to the environment in a different way - by experimenting with hybrid digital/analogue systems in the landscape. Programming Raspberry Pi's to work with stimuli from nature, alongside building instruments and sensors to create collaborative creative methods for nature to "sound". Analogue instruments such as Aeolian harps can be combined with environmental sensors connected to Raspberry Pi's creating and modifying sound, and diffusing that sound back into the landscape in real time. The possibilities of input, processing and output, and the ways in which we can interact sonically with the landscape, are limited only by our imagination...

Drew McDowall is a Scottish-born, NYC-based composer and musician. He was a member of Coil in the 90s, contributing heavily to some of their most respected and influential works. An artist who has refused to conform in music and in life, McDowall mines the hallucinatory spaces that exist between reality and transcendental otherness. His work has been described as "sacraments to alterity", with meditative compositions that are haunting and spiritual, melding intricate modular soundscapes with cut-up field recordings, deconstructing and reconfiguring sounds into otherworldly structures and shapes. The disorienting ambient mirages that result elicit terror, tender melancholy, and heavenly flickers of expansive beauty. He has released four albums on Dais Records since 2015, the most recent being Agalma (2020), and is known for his diverse collaborations, working with Kali Malone, Catarina Barbieri, Robert Aki Aubrey Lowe, Hiro Kone, Varg, Puce Mary and many others. Drew has performed at international festivals including CTM, Berlin Atonal, Dark Mofo, Unsound, Le Guess Who, Semibreve, WOS and Ambient Church.

Kathy Hinde is an audiovisual artist inspired by behaviours and phenomena found in nature and the everyday expressed through audiovisual installations and performances that combine sound, sculpture, image and light. Composed of hand-made objects, electronics and a blend of digital and analogue systems, her work represents a cross between kinetic sound sculptures and newly invented instruments. She frequently works in collaboration with other practitioners and scientists and often actively involves the audience in the creative process. She has toured work across Europe, USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, China, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Colombia, Australia and New Zealand. Awards include an Ivor Novello Award for Sound Art in 2020; an Honorary Mention at Prix Ars Electronica in 2015; a British Composer Award in Sonic Art in 2017; an ORAM award in 2017 and a Scottish Award for New Music for collaboration with Maja Ratkje in 2018.  She joined the Cryptic Artist programme in 2015, was a selected artist for European SHAPE Platform for innovative music and audiovisual art in 2018, is a member of Bristol Experimental Expanded Film collective (BEEF), and a resident at the Pervasive Media Studio, Bristol.

Matthew Olden is a computer artist - he makes computer programs that make music, do visuals and manipulate data. His practice has led him to perform worldwide, get work published, accept awards, appear on telly and meet various royal families. Matthew primarily programs in Max/MSP and Jitter and records under the name I Am the Mighty Jungulator.

CAMP, Rue Principale, Aulus les Bains, 09140 France
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