Translating Critter by Ida Hiršenfelder

We, the humans, empathise with critters who display cognitive properties and find exquisite aesthetic pleasure in their speech. Birds are deliberately attracted to gardens and parks through feeding and fountains for us to enjoy the felicitous atmosphere of their song. We use them to mask the humming and rhythms of the machines in a cityscape. In the workshop, we will search beyond our anthropocentric needs and projections when listening to the critters around us. We will learn about frequency ranges of speaking and listening to the sound-producing species, some of them inaudible to the human ear. Understanding the physics of sound, we will use field recording equipment to monitor their speech and later translate it to how they hear themselves and how we would hear them if we were to perceive the world as they do. The workshop nurtures empathy for the sentient beings around us and the reality of the mechanised world as a part of our nature. It is an experiment in sonically experiencing their worldview.

About Master Education in Arts
Learning with the Garden; Learning from the Land

A day of workshops, conversations/presentations, walks and field listening at the urban garden complex Volkstuinvereniging Streven naar Verbetering (SNV) in Rotterdam.

A typical urban garden such as SNV does not look like an experimental learning site at first, or as a place of (un)commoning practices that continuously negotiate between varying meanings, expertise and politics. It tends to be seen as an assemblage of tiny eclectic allotments and people of different ages and backgrounds who maintain the land and relations in the complex. Looking at it from a larger perspective, gardening is simultaneously a metaphor and a model for examining and (un)learning practices of environmental interventions. Learning with the Garden; Learning from the Land proposes to relate to this urban site of biologically and socially interdependent living beings through small-scale engagements and personal stories. Spending this day in the garden, we will explore how its soil, water, air, creatures and people trigger different scenarios of learning and co-responding. The slow process of relating to the interwovenness of the Earth’s human and non-human beings opens up the possibility of challenging institutional (or disciplinary) mechanisms that depend on a predefined method of observation and understanding. This land-based classroom invites us to experience learning through becoming together with the land and other people and sharing accountabilities, rather than through reporting and explaining those. We invite gardeners, students, artists, designers and educators to join us in imagining a non-disciplinary practice of meaning-making which relies on embodied and intuitive experiences as tools.

With: Skye Maule-O’Brien (educator, researcher, WdKA); Victoria McKenzie (eco-warrior, academic-activist, choreographer), Tara Page (Head of PhD Art Practice and Learning, Goldsmiths, London), Ida Hiršenfelder (sound artist and archivist), Irina Shapiro (designer, educator, events curator) and Renée Turner (artist and senior research lecturer WdKA).

This event is part of a larger event series called Co-respond: Bodies, Voices, Spaces in Art Education initiated by the MA Education in Arts / Piet Zwart Institute: Ingrid Commandeur (Course Director), Irina Shapiro and Renée Turner in collaboration with Jules Sturm (ZdHK, Zurich).

Location: Volkstuinvereniging Streven naar Verbetering, Roel Langerakweg 33, Rotterdam
Date: Friday June 3, 2022 Time: 10:30 – 18:00, drinks until 19:30
How to enrol: Attendance is free, but due to the event’s participatory nature, the number of places is limited to 40 people. Please enrol in time by sending an e-mail (with your name and contact details) to if you wish to attend.