Yasmina Chavez likes sound, sometimes very loud sounds. So it comes as no surprise that when she was invited to do a workshop at Mt Charleston she had participants create visual interpretations of sound while blindfolded.
Here is the description of the project:
This project will ask participants to investigate the visual aspects of sound by eliminating sight. There are two parts to the project. The first is drawing sound and the second sculpting it. The participants will wear a blindfold made of white material to obscure vision but not eliminate light with the purpose of creating a placid environment and not evoke fear. This will heighten their sense of sound by eliminating any visual distractions. They will then be asked to interpret what they hear and create a visible version of it through drawing and sculpting.
During the drawing and sculpting sessions the participant will get two sound experiences to interpret. One will come from an album of my choice and the other will be the surrounding sound (nature’s album).
For the drawing session, each participant will get a white t-shirt. They will interpret the album I play for them on the front of the t-shirt and nature’s album on the back using a sharpie and pen. They will be asked to use hand movement to make marks as if the sound was wind and it was moving their hand around. The front of this t-shirt symbolizes our focus on the synthetic and the back symbolize the ever present nature that we sometimes loose sight of.
For the sculpting session, each participant will get two mounds of clay, one for each sound experience. They will be asked to use their hands as their interpretive tools and create a structure using strength and pressure. They will then be asked to find objects and link them together.
This project is an investigation of our awareness on the synthetic vs. the natural. They are opposing sides but together make a whole. Each side is represented in the resulted works.
Everyone left with new knowledge and information about sound artists like William Basinski, Aren Ambarchi, Boards of Canada, and Fennesz which were playing on a battery driven turntable. In addition to the fun and relaxing experiment, the fabric Yasmina provided to draw on also happened to be wearable cotton t-shirts.