Yolande Harris

Posted in MediaArt by tpdr on December 1, 2008

Yolande Harris / Composer & media-artist / Explores relation between architecture, sound & image / Project example: Sun Run Sun


First of all, working as a composer with both audio and image, it became clear to her that sound doesn’t draw your attention as quickly as images that get to us much faster. A second remark she makes is that, as she likes to investigate the relations between sound, technology and environments, it became clear how little environments and landscapes are discussed in the media arts.


Looking at landscapes from different points of view she also uses GPS and thus satellite information. As these data are used for her compositions, creating the sounds, what we hear is actually the external space, which wraps the space we live in. Even though this all sounds really scientific, her first goal is to confront the audience with something it is not always aware. She won’t present it as a neutral reality but will try to provoke a certain emotional response and as the raw data becomes subjective at some point in the process, thus creating the possibility of multiple interpretations.


Talking about interpretations and connotations, it is clear that indirectly these satellites are connected with the military, communication, etc. This doesn’t bother her at all, but what she finds most interesting is the fact that GPS technology tells us at any time where we are. You can not get lost anymore these days and it will take you from point A to point B in a way that you stop thinking about the environment you are in. GPS has split navigation from the environment, it has disconnected the ‘knowing where you are’ from the ‘knowledge of the environment’. I always found GPS technology undermines the orientation skills and it seems to me that Yolande agrees. In my opinion she is totally right when she says new technologies make our lives easier, but one should always be aware of the fact that at the same time we risk losing a lot of what we already know and, more specifically in relation to the subject of the satellites, our fundamental engagement to our environment. Fully aware of this phenomenon she has become fascinated by working towards a hybrid between technologically aided and intuitive embodied navigation, or as she calls it the techno-intuition.

This article is based on: A Journey Through Sound; An Interview with Yolande Harris by Carmen Hutting and Annet Dekker – Tagmag 05 – Eco Aesthetics


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