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Mar 23, 2018 at 10:00 am – Mar 25, 2018 at 5:00 pm

Creative Field Recording

A three-day intensive on the theory and practice of field recording for various forms of sound design

This workshop is SOLD OUT.

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In his 1985 essay, Listening Roland Barthes wrote “Based on hearing, listening (from an anthropological point of view) is the very sense of space and of time… Noises have been the immediate raw materials of a divination; to listen is, in an institutional manner, to try to find out what is happening”

Sound has a special relationship to emotion, instinct, and memory, both individual and collective. Tapping into an ancient area of our brain, sound provides immediate information telling us where we are, if it is safe, and how we should feel about that.

This three-day intensive and immersive workshop, with lead instructor Zach Poff, will have its participants considering the path from listening, to recording, to designing sound for various project forms. Covering topics and techniques from listening to Deep Listening, soundwalks and sound recording in the field, the relationship between the soundscape and sound design, and what is carried and created on the path from recording and recordings, to sound art, performance, and design.


Open to everyone. We are looking for filmmakers, radio producers, phonographers, sound and media artists, museum curators and archivists and others interested in working with field recordings. All lovers of sound welcome! Those with a desire to expand field recording techniques and to use recording for creative sound design encouraged to apply.

$295 early bird registration by March 9th, 2018 at 5PM.

$350 regular registration.

Should you need to cancel, you’ll receive a full refund until the early deadline of March 9th. After March 9th, the fee is non-refundable.

In the event that a workshop does not receive sufficient enrollment, it may be canceled. Students will be notified at least 48 hours prior to the start of a cancelled workshop and will be refunded within 5 business days. If we reschedule a workshop to another date, students are also entitled to a full refund. UnionDocs reserves the right to change instructors without prior notification, and to change class location and meeting times by up to an hour with 48 hours prior notice.

In order to keep costs down, this workshop is a BYOL, i.e. bring your own laptop. Students must be fully proficient using and operating their computers.

Please note: Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.


Friday, March 23, – 10:00a - 5:00p

Intro + Welcome with Zach Poff

Guest Instructors:

AM: Andrea Williams

Sound artist, Andrea Williams, incorporates listening into her art practice through her studies in acoustic ecology and also from collaborating and teaching with Pauline Oliveros. In this two-hour seminar, you will learn and practice some of Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening bodywork exercises that open up the ears for listening. You will also get a brief overview of the history of participatory art walks and Andrea’s techniques for creating a soundwalk. We will also take a short soundwalk together with listening in mind. Please wear comfortable shoes and bring a water bottle.

PM: Ben Tausig

Benjamin Tausig is an ethnomusicologist and sound student. In his seminar, we will learn to listen interpretively; that is, for layers of meaning that can be coaxed out of sound as it circulates and encounters different bodies. We will discuss strategies for the interpretation of sound, and for translating audition into other kinds of commentary about people, communities, art, and politics.

Saturday, March 24 – 10:00a - 5:00p

Guest Instructors:

AM: Zach Poff

In this session, we will practice techniques for capturing compelling sounds with unconventional sensors, based on examples from my work and others. It is intended for beginners as well as experienced recordists who want to expand their sonic palette. Each participant will revisit the site from their homework using microphones, contact mics, hydrophones, and electromagnetic sensors.

PM: Bonnie Jones

This session will collaboratively explore the line from recording to use of recordings for composition and performance techniques with an emphasis on improvisational music approaches and performances incorporating text, visuals and other elements.

Sunday, March 25 – 10:00a - 5:00p

Guest Instructors:

AM: Monteith McCollum

This session explores differing approaches to gathering and creating sound for both narrative and non-narrative processes. Emphasis will be placed on the creation of cinematic sound that blurs the lines between sound effect, soundscape, and music. Differing ways to shape sound will be introduced, through both software and hardware.

PM: Jacob Kirkegaard (via Skype)

Each day follows this general structure, with some minor variations and substitutions:


Warm up, inspiring references, case study, eye training.


Presentation by guest speaker + individual work-in-progress critique




Share / Discussion / Exercise


Lunch (on your own)


Presentation by guest speaker + individual work-in-progress critique




Workshop Exercise + Critique


Wrap Up


Zach Poff is a New York area media artist, educator, and maker-of-things. His artwork is rooted in open systems that eschew individual authorship in favor of collaborative or generative models. His algorithmic remixes of popular media  uncover hidden subtexts lurking inside familiar forms. Other recent work employs unique sound tools to explore the web of social and ecological relationships that challenge and sustain us. He considers his art-making, teaching, and software development to be contributions toward a culture of sharing & empathy, in direct opposition to commercial media’s cult of the individual. In 2015 he received a commission from Wave Farm Transmission Arts to create Pond Station, a long-term outdoor sculpture that live-streams the underwater sounds of a pond. He currently teaches Sound Art at Cooper Union School of Art in NYC and leads workshops on “expanded” sound recording at universities and arts organizations throughout the US.

Bonnie Jones is a Korean-American writer, improvising musician, and performer working primarily with electronic music and text. Born in 1977 in South Korea she was raised on a dairy farm in New Jersey, and currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland. Bonnie creates improvised and composed text-sound performances, videos, and installations that explore the fluidity and function of electronic noise (field recordings, circuit bending) and text (poetry, found, spoken, visual), exposing the tensile nature of identity, history, form, and meaning. Bonnie has received commissions from the London ICA, Walters Art Museum, Vox Populi and has presented her work extensively in the US, Mexico, Europe, and Asia. She collaborates frequently with writers and musicians. She was a 2018 recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award. Bonnie received her MFA at the Milton Avery School of the Arts at Bard College  https://bonnie-jones.com/.

Benjamin Tausig is assistant professor of music at Stony Brook University. His research focuses on music, sound, and political protest in Bangkok, Thailand. With a particular emphasis on urban space, Tausig has given attention to the ways that genre and performance are adapted in contexts of political upheaval. He has published on the musical activity of the Thai military’s psychological operations unit, and on the lives and art of protest musicians, among other topics. Tausig’s interdisciplinary interests combine ethnomusicology, sound studies, and human geography. His upcoming book, “Bangkok Is Ringing: Sound, Protest, and Constraint” (Oxford University Press, 2018) is a critical study of the music and broadcast environment of Thailand’s Red Shirt movement in 2010-11, during which time he conducted fieldwork in Bangkok and elsewhere. The book tracks the fragmentation of the Red Shirt movement through its musical and sonic spatial ordering. Tausig’s work has appeared in the journals Social Text, Culture, Theory, & Critique (in a special issue devoted to music and neoliberalism), Twentieth-Century Music, and Positions: Asia Critique.

Jacob Kirkegaard is an artist and composer who works in carefully selected environments to generate recordings that are used in compositions, or combined with video imagery in visual, spatial installations. His works reveal unheard sonic phenomena and present listening as a means of experiencing the world. Kirkegaard has recorded sonic environments as different as subterranean geyser vibrations, empty rooms in Chernobyl, Arctic calving glaciers and tones generated by the human inner ear itself.

Kirkegaard has presented his works at galleries, museums and concert spaces throughout the world, including MoMA in New York, LOUISIANA – Museum of Modern Art and ARoS in Denmark, KW in Berlin, The Menil Collection & at the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Aichi Triennale in Nagoya, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan.
Jacob Kirkegaard has gallery representation through Galleri Tom Christoffersen (DK) and Fridman Gallery (USA). His work is represented in the permanent collection of LOUISIANA – Museum of Modern Art in Denmark.
KIrkegaard’s sound works are released on the TOUCH (UK), Important Records (USA), mAtter (JAP), VON Archives (FR), Holotype Editions (GR) & Posh Isolation (DK) labels. He is a founding member of the sound art collective freq_out. In 2016 Jacob Kirkegaard was the sound-artist-in-residency at St. John’s College, University of Oxford, U.K.

Monteith McCollum is an inter-media artist working in film, sound, and sculpture.  His films have screened at Festivals and Museums including MoMa, The Hirshhorn, Wexner Center for the Arts and Festivals including SXSW, Slamdance, San Francisco, Amsterdam IDFA, & Osnabruck European Media Arts Festival.   His films have garnered dozens of festival awards including an IFP Truer than Fiction Spirit Award.  In addition to making films Monteith has consistently been creating unique compositions for films and performances.  Compositions are included on the NYFA Fellow CD compilation by Innova. His film and sound work have received support from organizations including New York Foundation for the Arts,  Rockefeller Foundation, NEA,  Jerome Foundation and Kodak.  Recent Audio Visual performances of “Hidden Frequencies” include HallWalls, Fylkingen, Bric Arts Media House NY, and Alchemy Film Festival.

Andrea Williams, utilizes site-specific elements and perceptual cues to reveal the unseen connections between people and their environment. Her compositions make use of field recordings, instruments, computer technologies and the sound of the performance space itself. She has led soundwalks based on concepts of acoustic ecology and Deep Listening in New York City, San Francisco, and also in people’s dreams in a collaborative project called SleepWalks. She has shown and performed both solo and with various musicians and artists at galleries and alternative spaces internationally, such as the Whitney Museum, Eyebeam, Roulette, The Kitchen, Children’s Creativity Museum, NPR, and the Mamori sound artist residency in the Amazon rainforest. She is a board member of the American Society for Acoustic Ecology, and she is studying our connection to water via soundwalks as a Ph.D. candidate in Electronic Arts at RPI in Troy, NY.

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Mar 23, 2018 at 10:00 am
Mar 25, 2018 at 5:00 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States

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