Translating Critter by Ida Hiršenfelder

As humans, we feel a deep connection with creatures that exhibit abilities to communicate and experience pleasure from the beauty of their interactions. Birds are intentionally attracted to gardens and parks through feeders and fountains, creating a delightful ambience with their melodious songs. We use their presence to mask the mechanical hum and rhythms of the cityscape. In this workshop, we aim to go beyond our human-centric perspective when interacting with the creatures that surround us. Our goal is to explore the various frequency ranges of communication employed by different species, some of which are imperceptible to the human ear. By delving into the physics of sound, we will use field recording equipment to capture their vocalisations and then translate them into a form that mirrors how they perceive their own sounds and how we might hear them if we could experience the world through their senses. This workshop nurtures empathy towards the sentient beings in our midst and highlights the mechanised world as an integral part of our nature. It invites us on an experimental journey to immerse ourselves in the sonic worldviews of other-than-humans.

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, 3 June 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.

Photos by Aad Hoogendoorn.