Still Creek Salmon Sounds
Final event Nov 30, 2018 — 6:30pm — 2650 Kaslo Street
Why did the salmon return to Still Creek after an 80 year absence? What can we learn about our continued cohabitation by listening to the dynamics of this creek?
Reflecting sonically on these and further questions, Patricia Angkiriwang, Adrian Avendano, Kellen Jackson, Donna Liu, Abigail Markowitz, Ruby Spring, and Sheridan Tamayo-Henderson have employed soundscape composition and data sonification to create an immersive installation. Photography by Matthew Armstrong & Jasmine Galdamez. Guiding the team are artist-mentors Brady Marks, Helena Krobath and Jennifer Schine, as well as Stó:lō historian Naxaxalhts’i, award-winning sonification researcher Marc St. Pierre, aquatic ecologist Emma Atkinson, and sound designer Pietro Sammarco. This project was co-produced with Still Moon Arts Society and was coordinated by Pietro Sammarco. Primary funding generously provided by Telus.
Still Creek Salmon Sounds is a mentorship project providing technical and conceptual support to create a sound-based installation artwork exploring the salmon spawning season in a local creek.
Participants weave together environmental sound recordings with a series of photographs taken on location in the creek. They also learn to sonify data about the creek’s rehabilitation, as a way of listening for patterns otherwise hidden to the eye.
Project runs from September to December, 2018.
In 2017, chum salmon returned to spawn in East Van’s Still Creek for the 5th straight year, following an 80-year absence. What seems like a kind of miracle is actually the result of sustained community-led efforts to learn about the creek, educate the public, and tighten up environmental regulations to prevent industrial wastewater from draining into this body of water. The fact that salmon return to spawn in Still Creek is directly tied to this waterway’s present condition. The salmon act as a barometer for understanding Still Creek’s condition and the intricate relationships that make up this environment. This project uses sound recording to provoke a situated exploration of a watershed we so often take for granted.
Participating artists were interviewed on the radio about their process. It’s a 1 hour interview on the Soundscape show on Vancouver Co-op Radio CFRO 100.5FM. You can here them divulge the gritty details of their process and selections of their audio works here:
A huge thank you to Matthew and Jasmine who took all the photos that document this mentorship, as part of a work placement through their high school.
Their outstanding photographic stories, seen below, offer a glimpse into the process engaged by the mentorship team in creating their sound works.
♦ Story One ♦
♦ Story Two ♦
♦ Story 3 + Final Event ♦
Brady Ciel Marks is the lead mentor for this project. She is a digital media artist who works with Sound, Light and Kinetics. She holds a Masters in Interactive Arts from Simon Fraser University (SFU) and an undergraduate degree with honours in Computer Science from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Her projects have toured in Europe, Asia and the Americas. With Chris Welsby, she implemented a real-time, weather-data transition system covering four continents for Tree Studies (2006), a three-screen digital media installation presented at the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea. Her interactive light sculpture I Am Listening (2007) was commissioned and acquired by the Surrey Art Gallery (BC), where it is on permanent display. In conjunction with VIVO Media Arts Centre (Vancouver), Brady received Innovations grant funding from the British Columbia Arts Council for the research and creation of a Volumetric Display Device that generates interactive 3D sculptural images using light. The device was presented at the 2015 International Symposium on Electronic Art and at Science World at Telus World of Science. As a graduate of Simon Fraser University taught by faculty including original members of the World Soundscape Project (WSP) including Hildegard Westerkamp, and as a member of the Soundscape Collective at Vancouver Co-operative Radio, Brady Marks is an inheritor of the WSP legacy of Acoustic Ecology. Recently she presented a 24 Hour broadcast of a Saturna Island Soundscape, on Earth Day in sync to local time as part of the Wetland Project. She is a frequent host of Soundscape on Co-op Radio, as well as a member of the Vancouver Electronic Ensemble and a DJ working under the alias of furiousgreencloud.
As a teacher, Brady has guest lectured in SFU’s School of Interactive Arts & Technology, Film Program, and School of Communication, where she also served as an external examiner. She has lead workshops in physical computing and digital media manipulation at VIVO Media Arts. She has presented artist talks at the Luminato Festival (Toronto), Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst (Zurich) and Emily Carr University of Art and Design.
Jennifer Schine is an award-winning sound artist, broadcaster, and community-engaged researcher whose work explores the oral histories and soundscapes of coastal British Columbia. Passionate about public engagement and collaborative projects, Jenni has extended her academic work into film, radio, electroacoustic composition, and installations. She holds a MA in Acoustic Communication from Simon Fraser University and a BA in Anthropology from the University of Victoria. From 2007 to 2013, Jennifer was an active member of the Vancouver Soundwalk Collective. She has worked closely with electroacoustic composer and activist, Hildegard Westerkamp, and in 2017 produced The Ecology of Sound: Hildegard Westerkampfor CBC Ideas, which has been re-broadcasted internationally.
Jennifer is constantly seeking new opportunities to collaborate, and is proud to be a member of The Kingcome Collective, a place-based arts initiative that creates art for both remote and urban communities, and for Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. Her current collaborative project, Field Guides for Listeners is part of a two-year residency at the Salmon Coast Field Station in the Broughton Archipelago, B.C. where artists join scientists to study the life-cycle of pacific salmon – from their spawning grounds to migration routes that lead into the ocean. Jenni is passionate about combining art and science, and is excited to extend her work with sound and salmon to Vancouver’s local water system.
As a sound scholar and artist, Jennifer teaches courses and workshops in both the city and the wilderness, including Acoustic Ethnography and Science Storytelling at the Bamfield Marine Science Centre. This summer she’s excited to co-facilitate a five-day workshop, A Story from Hear: Place-based Podcasts at Hollyhock. Jenni currently serves on the board of the Salmon Coast Field Station Society, is the Arts, Culture, and Ethnographer Advisor for the Sfaira Foundation, and referees for the BC Studies Quarterly Journal’s Soundworks section.
Helena Krobath studies spatial narratives and sensory experience through research-creation. She received a Master’s in Media Arts from Concordia University in Montreal, where she was awarded funding by SSHRC, Hexagram, and the Mobile Media Lab to complete a thesis which combined sound studies, multi-media art-making, and historical research to examine social and environmental relations in BC’s north Fraser Valley forest parks. She has taught several workshops on sound, sensory observation, and field recording, including Audio Story-crafting and Poetics for VIVO in 2017.
Over the past few years, she has designed interactive sound and field recording workshops for the Milieux Institute and the Simone de Beauvoir Institute in Montreal; has led soundwalks with Vancouver New Music; and has taught audio production labs at Concordia University, covering production skills including recording, editing, processing and narrative techniques. She recently participated in a sound-mapping exchange between Montreal and Morecambe, programmed by the Centre for Mobilities Research at Lancaster University; has presented methodology and sound/video work at conferences and symposia, including the Feminist Media Studio and the American Association of Geographers Annual Conference; and has guest lectured for third-year courses at SFU and Concordia.
Helena’s excellence was recognized with a Convocation Medal Award for her studies at Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Art Communication and Technology, where she was Research Assistant for the 2017 publication Journalism and Climate Crisis regarding public engagement in environmental issues; volunteered with student organizations such as SFU OpenMedia.ca; and sat on several departmental committees. She has worked with the organizing team for Media Democracy Days Vancouver since 2013.
Guest Mentor Bios
Dr. Naxaxalhts’i (Albert “Sonny” McHalsie) is the Cultural Advisor/Historian of the Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre. Naxaxalhts’i has worked for the Stó:lō as a researcher in cultural heritage and aboriginal rights and title issues since 1985. He contributed to and served on the editorial board of the award winning publication A Stó:lō Coast Salish Historical Atlas (2001), amoung other titles. His areas of expertise include Halq’eméylem Place Names, Fishing, and Stó:lō Oral History. He continues to fish at his ancestral fishing ground at Aseláw in the Stó:lō Five Fishery in the lower Fraser River canyon.
Marc St. Pierre is a researcher and a community engaged artist in the classroom and founder of Maker Cube (makercube.ca) in Surrey. His main creative medium is data, which he maps to sound in a practice called sonification, and has won a handful of awards for his work, the most recent being Best Use of Sound at the International Conference for Auditory Display for his publication on air quality sonification. Browse some older examples of his work at sonificationjournals.tumblr.com
Emma Atkinson is an aquatic ecologist and undergraduate Honours student in the John Reynolds lab at Simon Fraser University. She researches salmon biology and behaviour, and is also co-founder and executive editor of the SFU Science Undergraduate Research Journal.
Primary funding generously provided by
Additional funding by
Special thanks to the following people for helping this project access water and salmon data:
Guy Roberts and Brian Yu of Metro Vancouver’s Liquid Waste Services Division
Scott Ducharme of Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Emma Warner Chee and Dave Scott of the Still Creek Streamkeepers
Alan James of the Stoney Creek Environment Committee
Mark Sloat, Environmental planner with the City of Burnaby