Sensory Storytelling: A sound-Portrait of Water
During the 2017 Water Rights Residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute, Fiona is undertaking a collaborative arts-based sensory ethnography that explored how the sounds of water participate in making up the larger story of the lived reality of water in our everyday lives.
In most situations, we tend to prioritize visual experiences. This project asks: How can we use our other senses to tell our stories, and create a shared and immersive re-telling?
In the arts, humanities, and social sciences, a gap exists in how we uses our sense to tell stories about shared lived experiences. In recent years, water has been part of so many facets of debate regarding its ownership, consumption, and rights from early treaties between Indigenous peoples and colonial powers. And today, water rights are still contested and access is re-written through Western policy systems. Fiona is looking at water as material culture, and sound as a way to understand our shared experiences. Arts-based ethnographies that rely on the use of our senses may act as a way of going beyond words to harness a deeper understanding of our shared lived experiences.
This project integrated digital storytelling to create a sensory ethnography. This project was carried out in collaboration with visual artist Ashley Blanton and Spanish Language Arts Teacher, Mr. Randall Grillo with the El Orto Lado program at the Monte del Sol Charter School, and elementary Music Teacher, Ms. Sarah Gachupin at Atalaya Elementary School in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
A final installation of this project was installed in collaboration with Dr. Benjamin Day Smith (IUPUI School of Engineering, Music and Arts Technology and Computer Information and Graphics Technology) and graduate student Neal Anderson (Masters in Science and Music Technology) on April 13th, 2017 from 6:30-8:00pm at the Santa Fe Art Institute (1600 St. Michael's Street).
A forthcoming multi-modal publication on this project will appear in American Anthropologist.
Special thanks to Professors Terry M. Borst and Brad F. Wolfley from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design (SFUAD) Film School for supplying speakers and technical support for the gallery installation. A very warm thanks to Principal Diaz at Atalaya Elementary School and Barbara Deswood at the Academy of Learning for their engagement throughout the project in Santa Fe.