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Seeing with Sound: AVIA and Jack Straw Accessible Youth Art Workshops

Joel Ong

In June 2015 Jack Straw and Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences (AVIA) presented a pair of accessible workshops at Jack Straw in conjunction with Joel Ong's New Media Gallery installation Those Who Observe the Wind . . ., which incorporates sculpture, sound, and data-triggered electronics.

Over two consecutive weekends, sighted and visually impaired students from Seattle and around the region participated in hands-on art and sound workshops with Joel and Jack Straw teaching artists. The installation was audio described for the visually impaired by Jesse Minkert of AVIA.

For the first half of the workshop, Joel guided the students in building their own light-activated musical instruments. The instrument he designed has a light-sensitive plucking mechanism and a hand operated wheel to control the tuning of the pitch. Through this project, they learned the basics of physical computing and interacting through the Arduino and a light-sensitive photoresister, and got hands-on experience with tuning and playing a stringed instrument.

  

 



For the second half of the workshop, the students played their instruments in the studio, with Joel conducting. They then recorded personalized versions of a wind-inspired multiple choice fill-in-the-blanks poem by Jesse Minkert. The recordings of their instruments and poems were then added to the soundtrack of Joel's installation for the rest of its stay in the New Media Gallery.

"Windy Verse" (listen below, download here)

:Photos by Sherwin Eng, Robert Rose, and Nathanael Sams


               

Other Gallery Workshop pages:

 

For further information on our educational programs, contact:

Joan Rabinowitz, Executive Director
Jack Straw Cultural Center
206-634-0919

 


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