Sunday, April 20, 2014

Improving the Eco-Connectivity Exhibition





On Thursday, we had a delightful opening of our new exhibition, “How did the Cougar cross the Road: Restoring wildlife passage at Snoqualmie Pass,” followed by our very busy Earth Day family festival on Saturday; on Friday, about fifty fourth graders came through on  Saturday about three hundred people, including many children, visited the gallery so we are now beginning to get a sense of areas in which the show might be improved.

The exhibition explores the Snoqualmie East I-90 project, being constructed in the Cascade mountain range by the Washington State Department of Transportation for approximately $600 million. We concentrate on the project components concerned with restoring wildlife passage under and over the highway, especially the planned Price-Noble wildlife bridge over the interstate. 

We would like some sort of literary frame for the exhibition,perhaps alluding to the image of the cougar. I am wondering if we might draw on a passage from Wallace Stegner’s classic  1984, “Memo to a Mountain Lion. penned to convince  the California Legislature to ban the hunting of mountain lions. For example,

“Once, in every corner of this continent, your passing could prickle the stillness and bring every living thing to the alert. But even then you were more felt than seen. You were an imminence, a presence, a crying in the night, pug tracks in the dust of a trail. Solitary and shy, you lived beyond, always beyond. Your comings and goings defined the boundaries of the unpeopled.”

We have a wagon wheel borrowed from Olmstead Place State Park that we are preparing; as soon as it is ready, we’ll install that in the front “Feet, Hooves and Wheels” small section on transportation across the past. We will work in the wonderful 1882 Yakima Wagon company toll tickets lent to us by Cathy Hash into that section.   It does seem to me that the section on indigenous perspectives on Snoqualmie Pass is underdeveloped; and we’ll need to give it some thought.

We’ve already made one correction. At the start of the steep slope from the wildlife bridge platform, we’ve put in two yellow signs, warning “Caution. Steep Wildlife Climb” showing the outline of a bear descending a hill.  Our plan is to screw in climbing holds on the upward path up the slope, so that children will be able to emulate climbing on a manageable climbing wall.


We’re still trying to figure out the most effective way to use the “Willdlife Passage Puppet Theater,” which is at the top of the wildlife bridge platform.  Children have clearly enjoyed making puppets out of paper bags with all the colored paper components that Sarah assembled.  We’ve  also seen that, if prompted by an adult, children enjoy using the provided plush puppets (of a lynx, bear, snail and pika) but that they do need a fair amount of prompting from adults to have brief exchanges among the animals;  I was pleased to see that the fourth graders seated in the gathering space on the floor in front of the puppet theater raised their hands to ask questions of the puppets, about how much liked the bridge and so forth. But they don’t put on puppet performances on their own without being told to do so.



 College student interns probably need to model performances first.   I’ve suggested a small skit at:

http://museed.blogspot.com/2014/04/puppetry-in-wildlife-connectivity.html

The most complex challenge in terms of scientific education is figuring out a way to communicate the relevance of increasing genetic connectivity for extended the gene pool. To some of the young people we’ve talked to it doesn’t seem all that intuitive that increasing relatedness between long-separated populations will lead to greater genetic diversity, and thus greater chances of resilience in the event of environmental challenges.  Several colleagues have suggested there might be a way to use bags of different colored marbles (or jelly beans?) to illustrate some basic statistical principles, about the likelihood of dangerous alleles being reduced in a larger, more diverse population.  I’m not sure if there is any possible way to integrate that with a puppet show, or if that would be a stand-alone demonstration.

We’ve certainly seen that children love to run around the ramp, following the cougar and elk tracks, n climbing down the steep slope, pushing toy trucks through the tunnels as they crawl through them, and making wild animal paper bag puppets.

We’re glad that they are thinking of the Museum as a fun place to visit, but of course we’d like them to learn something about nature and environmental processes while they are there.  We’re not sure yet precisely how the puppet-making, puppet-theater and the three dimensional aspects of the space can best be integrated in an effective educational manner.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Campus Art Tour Update

During Winter Quarter 2014, we have continued to developed our experimental mobile phone art and landscape tour of the Central campus,  housed on the Guide by Cell platform.  Students in my "Museum Exhibition Design" class and Prof. Ellen Avitts' "American Art and Architecture" course partnered to create eleven segments on the tour, concentrating on works of outdoor and indoor art on campus, as well as Barge and Shaw-Smyser halls.

This time around, students did more work researching the art works, in some cases interviewing the artists and eliciting commentaries by students and faculty who regularly come into contact with the works. Their mission was to create audio segments that, while art historically informed, would hold the attention of college students. Most tried for a dialogic and informal style, rather than the kind of didactic curatorial monologues heard in most art museum audio tours.

To hear the new selections, please dial  (509) 350-5040  and enter the designated three digit code (e.g. 202) followed by the # sign.

 

200.  First art classroom, Barge Hall, c. 1898. Photographer Unknown.  Image courtesy of Brooks Library Archives and Special Collection.
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201. Barge Hall.  (first building constructed at Washington State Normal School)  
_______________________________
202. Shaw Smyer building. (Originally "Library" and "Classroom Building")
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203.  "Affection" sculpture (artist:  William Zorach, 1933) dedicated to the memory of Clara Meisner, in the foyer of Hebbler Hall.
____________________________________


204.  "The Raft" sculpture (also known as "Little Dragon")  in front of Boullon Hall (artist: Howard Ballis)


____________________________________



205.   "The Discoverer" sculpture (artist Brad Rude, 1988, Art in Public Spaces Program, Washington State Art Commission) in the foyer of Black Hall  
_________________________________________

206.     'Jerry  Brown" photograph (Photographer: Kurt Fishback, New Photographics Collection)
 in Randall Hall's first floor corridor.
___________________________________________

207.    Totem Pole in the Brooks library, near the circulation desk   (Gift of the Kwakiutl people, in honor of the Yakama Nation)

__________________________________________


209.   Photograph of Clara Meisnner with her dancing students, Washington State Normal School, near Edison Hall, c. 1917 (photographer unknown) displayed in Barge Hall,  4th floor, Board of Trustees Boardroom,  Image courtesy of Brooks Library Archives and Special Collection.

______________________________________________

210. "Kinetic Spatial Structure" sculpture (Artist: Gary Galbraith, 1986) above the stairwell landing in Bouillon Hall, between the first and second floor.


________________________________________________

211.  "Crossing Surfaces"  sculpture   (Minoru Kurasawa, donated 1996) outdoor, between Black Hall and Bouillon Hall
____________________________________

212.  Elephant Desk sculpture (artist: Chris Schambacher)  on second floor, Science Building

Reminder: To hear the audio segments, please dial  (509) 350-5040  and enter the designated three digit code (e.g. 202) followed by the # sign.
_______________________
Earlier audio segments on campus art by students and faculty 


John Hoover, Man who married an eagle. 1971.   (Dean Hall lobby)

100. Description of the work
101. Commentary on the work (Mark Auslander)

______________________


106.  Cascade Cradle,  ( Artist: Gary Bates, 1991)  metal sculpture on central campus lawn, east of Dean Hall,
south of the irrigation trench.  (Commentary: Liz Seelye '14)


_______________________________________________

113.   Wickiup.  Debora Butterfield, sculpture located between Barge Hall and Hebbler Hall.
(Commentary: Mark Auslander)

and

126. Wickiup.  Debora Butterfield, sculpture located between Barge Hall and Hebbler Hall.
 (Student  co-authored poem by Gail Wynn and Leah Wassil '14) 

_________________________
111.  Gesture for Planetary Alignment, Luke Blackstone,  2012, kinetic sculpture located near Hogue Hall.
 (Commentary: Mark Auslander)


______________________

114.    Untitled.  (Darwin Davis, 1972) Outdoor, in front of Language and Literature building.  (Commentary: Mark Auslander)

_____________________________



118.  Umtanum Ridge, painting, Cindy Krieble, located in Brooks Library Atrium (Commentary: Mark Auslander)


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Reminder: To hear the audio segments, please dial  (509) 350-5040  and enter the designated three digit code (e.g. 202) followed by the # sign.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Cultural Intimacy in Shell Game

At Cascadia Chronicle we are asking contributors to submit commentaries on Lou Karsen's remarkable short film "Shell Game" (2013), in which Washington state 2012-14 Poet Laureate Kathleen Flenniken meditates upon the legacies of the Hanford plutonium production site in eastern Washington, where she grew up.  You may view the six minute film at:
http://vimeo.com/69287016

Please submit your reflections on the film to the journal at our submission portal:   http://www.cascadiachronicle.com/pages/submissionPage/current/submissions.html

To start things off, here is my short commentary on the film:

Cultural Intimacy and The Nuclear Family
Mark Auslander on “Shell Game”

Having just finished Kate Brown’s magnificent book,”Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters,”  I’m struck by how skillfully poet Kathleen Flenniken and director Lou Karsen evoke the in-between states of knowing and unknowing that characterized life in the shadow of  Cold War Hanford. 
Brown emphasizes that Richland in its plutonium-producing heyday marketed itself as a utopian space  for aspirant middle class families, and her subtitle cleverly plays on the multiple meanings of “nuclear”: these were simultaneously subsidized modern bourgeois family units freed of the constraints of traditional extended kinship, yet they were also family units stealthily irradiated by the by-products of plutonium production.

“Shell Game” nicely highlights the intertwined seductions and betrayals of this familial imagery.  All families are to some extent built on secrecy, and none more so than the extended Richland family, which leached an ever growing body of secrets into its spreading, subterranean “plume.”   Anthropologist Michael Herzfeld suggests that most social units are not held together by their shared, publicly voiced values, but rather by their sordid, dirty little secrets, that are at best only partially acknowledged among its members, sometimes with only the subtlest of meaningful, exchanged glances.  Herzfeld introduces the term ‘Cultural Intimacy” to characterize  this unspoken, shared terrain of tacit difficulty knowledge.  

“Shell Game” may be read as a particularly evocative visual and spoken exploration of the enigmatic familial geography of "cultural intimacy."  We begin with the poet’s childhood memories: she recalls the big word “Atomic”, without having heard the completed phrase, “Atomic Bomb.”  In her mind’s eye, hoisted atop her father’s shoulders, gazing out at the New Frontier’s “sea of white,” she longs for approval from the national Father Figure, in the form of the soon-to-be-apotheosized JFK.  And yet, hovering behind each uncompleted sentence, each ominous warning sign, and each patriotic exultation, lies all that can never be said, here visually captured by the ominous ascent to the darkened national attic, the wooden floor being quietly swept.
Sweeping scene. Shell Game (2013)

Here is foreshadowed the narrator’s epiphany, when she learns of the radiation-induced illness of her close friend Caroline's father: the intimate fabric of the family, which she and her peers had imagined Hanford to exemplify and to protect, is ripped away.  For all the boxes she might build in her mind, for all the attempts to wall out the full import of the death, intimate truths begin to seep in.

It is striking though that Flenniken, while fully articulate in her critique of national security state deceptions, works through her poetry to honor the texture of that early and enduring state of cultural intimacy. Perhaps to the frustration of her more activist Tri-Cities friends and peers, she does not fully repudiate the utopian vision of her childhood but rather chooses, as her closing line has it, to live within the" in-between" state that poetry makes possible. For that is what it is to be, in her terms, “All-American,” simultaneously to believe and to disbelieve, to accommodate and resist, and to know one another through the half-acknowledged secrets that constitute our collective, buried lives.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Closing Frames in Shell Game

At Cascadia Chronicle we are asking contributors to submit commentaries on Lou Karsen's remarkable short film "Shell Game" (2013), in which Washington state Poet Laureate Emerita Kathleen Flenniken meditates upon the legacies of the Hanford plutonium production site in eastern Washington, where she grew up.  You may view the six minute film at:
http://vimeo.com/69287016

Please submit your reflections on the film to the journal at our submission portal:   http://www.cascadiachronicle.com/pages/submissionPage/current/submissions.html

To start things off, here is my short commentary on the film (NOTE: The director just removed the final section of the film, so the following commentary is no longer really relevant.)

Opening and Closing

A commentary on  Shell Game
A closing frame: Shall Game, dir, Lou Karsen (2013)

I am drawn again and again to the opening and closing frames of Lou Karsen’s film. We open to a five second shot of Kathleen Flenniken outdoors in her coat, shot from below, her smile enigmatic, framed against a blue sky, looking off in the distance as her voiceover begins. “I liked that we were a scientific community, I felt that that made us better.”  We next see her repeatedly indoors, facing us directly, head shot against a studio wall, as we venture, step by step, deeper into her story of gradual disenchantment with the reigning Hanford mythos. And then, just after the credits have rolled and the musical chord progression in elegiac minor key has ceased, at 5:38 we are back in the opening outdoor scene. The front page of the Seattle Times fills the screen for a moment: to the left we see a green lawn, a white house and bare trees in the background. And then the camera lifts:  we see Kathleen once more above us, wearing the same coat as in the opening shot, framed against that same blue sky, silently holding the newspaper with that same enigmatic half-smile. And the scene fades to black

What are we to make of this? We briefly glimpse, upon repeated viewings, the newspaper date: March 3, 2013. I am unsure of the precise reference. Seventy years earlier that week, on March 9, 1943, the residents of Hanford Reach received the infamous eviction notices, giving them thirty days to leave their homes, so that (although they did not know it at the time) construction of the Hanford Engineering Works might begin tater that summer.  There was considerable hoopla in Richland this past Fall as the city’s leaders celebrated Hanford’s seventieth anniversary, with the issue of festive “Plutonium Passports” and a Cold War James Bond-styled gala.  None of that here: just the silent poet, holding a newspaper with a date that quietly witnesses the passing of the seventieth anniversary.

I can’t help but think of a kidnapping victim, forced to hold the day’s newspaper as she faces into the camera, proving that she is still alive.  Is the poet here held hostage to History, even as she awakes, with us, from the dreamworld of Hanford? Here, we are suspended with her between the moment of origin and the present day, between the child’s longing for the approval of the national Father Figure and the adult’s sober reflection on seven decades of deception, cancer, and an ever advancing plume. Here, in the final frames, we glimpse our Poet Laureate somewhere between mourning and wry humor, in the “in between state” -- the very state within which, as she reminds us in her closing line, poetry allows her to reside.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hazards and the Work of Culture: New Worlds from Fragments?

Taylor Bridge Fire, 2012, Steve Bisig.
We are delighted at Cascadia Chronicle that our new series “Ring of Fire,” exploring literary and analytic work on natural hazards in Cascadia and the broader Pacific region, is supported by a grant from the newly-established Cascadia Hazards Institute  at Central Washington University.  As a sociocultural anthropologist I’d like to offer a few reflections on the relationship between “hazards” and human culture. This is a puzzle we have been pondering at the Museum of Culture and Environment as we have mounted our current exhibition on wildland fire, organized by my colleague Hope Amason, and as we look forward to developing exhibitions on seismology: if “culture” ordinarily pertains to that which is known, created, and controlled by humans, in what senses may natural hazards, be they forest fires or earthquakes, be said to be cultural phenomena?

It is helpful to begin with etymology. The word “hazard,” dictionaries inform us, comes into English from Old French “hasart,” a game of chance, perhaps derived from an Arabic term for dice.  Only in mid 16th century English did hazards shift from the the sense of chances in gambling (as in “games of hazard”) to broader chances of loss, risk or harm throughout life.  Certainly, the sensibility and aesthetics of gambling and throwing the dice continues to inform much of our rhetoric about geophysical hazards, as we ponder the risk at any given moment of a “five hundred year” earthquake or a “thousand year” tsunami event.  A “hazard” is not quite synonymous with a “danger”; “hazard” implies a particularly intensive zone of possibility, hovering between the determinate and the indeterminate, the knowable and the unknowable.  All gamblers know they are playing the odds, and some are highly skilled at statistical calculations of probability, but committed gamblers usually are drawn to something beyond rationalist assessment, to intuitions, hunches, or enigmatic signifiers from beyond the conventional material world of cause and effect.

Indeed, for millennia diverse human spiritual traditions have emphasized intimate relationships between gambling and divination.  Consider the divinatory practices of Ifá among the Yoruba, bone throwing in southern Africa or the hexagramic I-Ching in China:  to render oneself susceptible to a ‘hazard” in this older sense is to open oneself up to the mysterious forces of the universe, to alternate planes of power and reality that may radically transform consciousness or the life course.   Perhaps the modern word “hazard” still caries a subtle sense of the miraculous, the numinous, of the not quite of this world.  Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons and conflagrations so often conjure up the language of the sacred and of the awesome (in the classical sense of being filled with awe).  To contemplate these large scale hazards is to stand on a kind of phenomenological precipice, to be made suddenly aware of the infinitely branching possible trajectories that coexist alongside our seemingly stable, predictable everyday lives on what we had thought, erroneously, to be terra firma. 

What might all of this, born of the fact that we reside upon a periodically restless and turbulent earth, have to do with the long evolutionary history of human culture?  Anthropologist Marshall Sahlins famously defines culture as a “meaningful order of persons and things.” Landscape forms are clearly objects of culture: they are things that we render meaningful through narrative, through habitual styles of perception, and through labor.   Mountains, waterfalls, canyons and other landscape features have long functioned as repositories of cultural knowledge, through which philosophies and worldviews have been re-accessed, contemplated and transmitted across the generations. As linguistic anthropologist Keith  Basso was told by his Western Apache consultants, “wisdom sits in places.”  Such is the case as well for the natural products of these generative landscapes: Chinese scholar stones, shaped by eons of geophysical forces, are understood as miniature landscapes compressing the great forces of the cosmos, and have thus been contemplated for philosophical and poetic insight across the millennia.

Yet what kind of wisdom or cultural knowledge is embedded in the tumultuous contortions of these landscape features, in earthquakes, eruptions, tsunami, rockslides, avalanches or wildland fires?  In some instances, conventional cultural models are summoned up to impose a degree of intelligibility upon crises that seem to defy all logic and order. For example, in a forthcoming article in Cascadia Chronicle  Jack Nisbet cites a Spokane Salish woman describing the 1872 earthquake centered near Chelan, Washington as if the earth was boiling and bubbling like “gravy”-- a simile drawn from the conventional practices of food preparation. It is a poignant image: precisely at the moment when all the most fundamental coordinates of conventional experience are disrupted, we turn to the most familiar and domestic of imagery, cooking itself, the archetypal process through which we transform nature into culture, the raw into the cooked.  This is the work of culture in its most fundamental sense, to render the unfamiliar into the familiar, to impose a framework of meaning upon that which manifestly defies our direct control.  Like all gamblers, when playing the game of hazard that is life we seek a reassuring, interpretive trope that is controllable, regular, and knowable.

Yet there is another way of thinking about the relationship between hazards and culture. Culture is not simply the pre-existing lens through which we understand external phenomenon, nor is it solely the matrix that governs our response to disaster. Culture itself is often the long-term product of natural (and social) hazards, repeatedly experienced and contemplated. The first great human cultural achievement,  the mastery and domestication of fire, was presumably brought about through our ancestors’ repeated observation of fires sparked by lightning strikes or volcanic action.  Many Japanese cultural theorists have argued that the Japanese cultural valuation of impermanence and fluidity is a function of the archipelago’s position in the Ring of Fire. Frequent exposure to volcanic eruptions, pyroclastic flows, tsunami, and tremors over the millennia tends, the argument goes, to contribute to a cultural aesthetic centered on mutability. Thus, the central ritual process of Imperial Shinto, the continuous deconstruction and reconstruction of Ise Shrine over a twenty year cycle.  The basic form is maintained in a supreme act of cultural reproduction even as no physical structure lasts longer than a human biological generation.

Mythologies the world over, to be sure, are inspired by seismic events, which are often reckoned in reference to generational relations between divine and human entities. The ancient Greeks understood the continuous rumbling around Mt. Olympus as signifying the mythic clash between generations of divinities: the enraged Titans, confined to subterranean Tarturus by their rebellious Olympian children, shake the walls of the underground prison.  Sigmund Freud, in formulating the modern mythos of the turbulent human psyche, drew inspiration from this ancient greek mytheme when he characterized the human mind as a volatile Mount Olympus: the Unconscious, though repressed by the Ego, reverberates like the enraged Titans with the “Immortal Wishes” born out of our thwarted early childhood desires.  In turn, my wife, anthropologist Ellen Schattschneider, drew upon Freud’s image in her analysis of the sacred Japanese volcano, Akakura, in her appropriately titled book, “Immortal Wishes.”   In the periodic eruptions and tremors of Mount Akakura, she demonstrates, the worshippers who perform ascetic discipline upon its craggy and dangerous slopes find tangible resonances with their own intergenerational struggles and internal psychic challenges.

Closer to our Cascadian home, we might consider what sort of cultural sensibilities have been generated through the region’s volatile landscapes and seascapes. Indigenous creation stories often emphasize the violent agitations of sacred beings, such as Raven, Beaver, or Orca in the making prominent landscape features.  Generative creative destruction is reenacted in ritual and ceremonial cycles that endure through time.  Sacred beings in the form of animals periodically sacrifice their flesh and meat to human hunters, to sustain their mortal cousins, who in turn reproduce and re-animate the domain of the sacred through masked performances of dance and song.  Such a ritual aesthetic may be in part inspired by a landscape shaped by tumultuous geophysical forces.  Here in Central Washington, for example, Yakima elders emphasize that indigenous narratives of inundation resonate with geological evidence of periodic ice age floods.  To tell a sacred story is to bind oneself to vast cycles of destruction and creativity. Indeed, Franz Boas famously detected in Pacific Northwest mythology a particular propensity for creative destruction, endlessly breaking down sacred stories into their constituent parts to be recombined in novel sequences linked together through distant family resemblances: "It would seem that mythological worlds have been built up only to be shattered again, and that new worlds were built from the fragments."   

How, in turn, are we to understand the dynamic relationship between hazards and culture in the context of industrial and post-industrial civilization in Cascadia?  Many geoscientists decry a pervasive “culture of denial” in the region, a seemingly willful ignorance on the part of policymakers of the long term risks of seismic disturbance. They point to the hubristic siting of population centers in the historically tsunami-prone Puget Sound, or the long term storage of radioactive waste in the geological unstable zone of the Hanford Reach. Has the age-old intimate connection between human culture and geophysical hazards, in which human beings were necessarily attuned to a turbulent earth, been ruptured by the illusory security of hyper-urbanity?

Yet, at another level, it is striking that modern urban dwellers, regardless of what faultline or wildfire-prone zone they locate their homes upon, are deeply drawn to mass media apocalyptic extravaganzas, of asteroids, mega-eruptions, and other spectacular hazards, not to mention the hybrid human-natural fantastical hazards of bio-engineered plagues and zombies.  Part of the appeal seems to be the promised resurrection of intimate communal bonds which is promised amidst the horror of the cataclysm---the sociological territory explored by Rebecca Solnit in her book, “A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster.”  (The enigmatic appeal of sporadically emergent community in Zombie Walks is analyzed by my former student Bryce Peake in a recent essay.)  Modern urban and suburban lives, it is often noted, tend to be deracinated and alienated, and thus we strangely long for the intimate bonds of social connectedness and re-emplacement that are promised, paradoxically, by dreadful hazards.   Suggestively, many urban dwellers in Cascadia refer to Nature as their “real home,” as the one place within which they can find restoration and rediscover their true being.  We are drawn to our region’s glorious coastlines, escarpments, basalt columns, peaks and valleys--which offer the romantic sensibility an encounter with the Sublime, a glimpse, however fleeting, of the face of the Eternal. These, are of course, the very landscape features that have been shaped across the age by the most tumultuous of hazards, by earthquakes and tsunami, by eruptions and lava flows, and the relentless action of glaciers, rockslides, and avalanches.

The work of culture, then, is never done, for culture itself is always being generated and transmuted out of tension and contradictions within our experiences as social beings, suspended as we are between the world as we wish it to be and the world that we practically experience. It would appear that even amidst our willful denial of geophysical risks of living atop subduction zones, we are still deeply drawn to the sties forged by the convulsions of the hazards that lurk beneath.  It is the upthrusts and chasms that we sense, if only dimly, connections the very heart of things, that we apprehend a promised return to a deep, abiding sense of awe and to the deeply spiritual sense of human community.  Hence, an enduring paradox that may well bind us to our ancient ancestors;  we ponder the essence of Life most fully, at the moments of hazard, of  intensive chance and fear, the very moments that threaten to dislodge life as we know it.




Monday, November 4, 2013

Experimental art and landscape mobile phone tour


As we have worked on mobile phone tour of the CWU campus, students have been playing with different ways to call attention to art and landscape locations, without necessarily speaking in an "authoritative" or monologic voice. Leah for instance recorded a poem ("World Tree", 108) set in the campus arboretum, in which she speaks in the voice of a primal Mother Tree.   Vernee (117) introduces her favorite residence hall by  taking on the voice of a student newly arrived on campus in the 1960s. Liz situates herself daydreaming in class, wondering about the  Cascade Cradle  (106) sculpture out the window.  Sean rather hilariously ponders the meaning of liminality (105) while hanging on the Dean lawn.Hanna (119) narrates the campus through the eyes of a coyote spirit returning to the landscape after a century's absence.


Here is the current list of audio prompts.

Dial   (509) 350-5040

Then enter the  prompt number, followed by the # sign.

The easiest place to start is in the Dean Hall lobby in front of the Museum of Culture and Environment, facing John Hoover's  1972 sculpture, "The Man who Married an Eagle" 

2. Introduction to outdoor tour (Mark)  LIVE

100. John Hoover sculpture  in Dean Hall lobby  (Mark)   LIVE

101. Mark personal reflections on John Hoover sculpture  in Dean Hall lobby (Mark)   LIVE

102.Remembering the Shrub Steppe, seen from east of Dean Hall (Amanda) LIVE  

103. Irrigation Canal, seen from Bridge east of Dean Hall, (Caitlyn)  LIVE

104.  Musical Memory, from Bridge east of Dean Hall,

105.  Liminal Space lawn, east of Dean Hall  (Sean)  LIVE


106 Cascade Cradle sculpture, east of Dean Hall  (Liz)   LIVE

107.   Arboretum (Rachel) LIVE

108. Arboretum "World Tree" , to west of Dean Hall, in front of the white birch (Leah)   LIVE

109.  Favorite spot, Between Hebler and Hertz  (Zach)  LIVE

110. Community Vegetable Garden, north of ROTC  (Kailona) LIVE

111.  Luke Blackstone sculpture, just southeast of Hogue. (Mark)  LIVE

112. Chimpanzee memorial rocks (former CHCI)  (Sandra)

 113. Deborah Butterfield’s Horse near Barge (Mark)  LIVE

114 Darwin Davis sculpture near L & L. (Mark)   LIVE

115  Satellite Dishes behind Brooks Library (Mark)  LIVE

116.  Mira's Garden near Health Center (Alex) LIVE


117.  Basettis Dorms in the 1960s (Vernee)  LIVE

118.  Cindy Krieble Umtanum Ridge painting in Library (Mark)   LIVE

119. Shrub Steppe through eyes of Coyoto Spirit  (Hanna) LIVE

120  Japanese Garden  (Mariel)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mobile phone segment on Butterfield Horse


My students and I have been thinking about how to develop effective segments for our outdoor art and landscape tour of campus. We do want the audio pieces to be a little wacky and unexpected, to get our auditors to experience art and landscape sites in new ways.  We've been talking about how to vary tone, to use humor, or startling juxtapositions, to shake things up a little bit.

I've tried my hand at this, with a segment about Deborah Butterfield's cast bronze sculpture, Wickiup, on the southwestern edge of campus. Like many of her horse sculptures, the piece appears to be made out of drift wood; it was cast at a foundry in Walla Walla and is installed as a long term loan here at Central. I've heen thinking we might do a series of audio pieces on this intriguing work.



A sign would list the phone number of the tour and list the prompt numbers to enter.

In this little piece, at:

https://sites.google.com/site/auslandermediafiles/audio/HorseButterfield2.mp3

I try to imagine what the horse might be thinking, standing out there between the campus buildings. I try for some humor mixed with an elegiac tone--- still trying to get this right, and it might work better if one of our theater colleagues performed the script instead.

You can access it through a phone line at  (509) 350-5040.   Enter 113, followed by the pound sign (#)

Still working on the audio levels. I've recorded the piece digitally on computer and then uploaded it to the Guide by Cell server. The other option is just to call the recording via telephone, using a land line.  That might work better, since then one doesn't have to worry about compression ratios.

I'm eager to see what the students in my Exhibiting Nature seminar, as well the Theater and Performance studies grad students, come up with for this experimental audio tour!