May 27 31 2018
Sunday 27th May to Thursday 31st May 2018

WildPainting, WildSounding

private retreat
 This is a new five-day experience that takes you on an amazing artistic journey of discovery and reconnection through art and music.

Sight isolates, sound incorporates. Whereas sight situates the observer outside what he views, at a distance, sound pours into the hearer. Vision comes to a human being from one direction at a time: to look at a room or a landscape, I must move my eyes around from one part to another.

When I hear, however, I gather sound simultaneously from every direction at once: I am at the centre of my auditory world, which envelopes me, establishing me at a kind of core of sensation and existence. You can immerse yourself in hearing, in sound. There is no way to immerse yourself similarly in sight. By contrast with vision, the dissecting sense, sound is a unifying sense.

But is this really the case? What happens when experiences of sound and color start to intersect, to contrast and to resonate? Is there such a thing as “complementary sounds” out there in nature? When I paint, Paul Cézanne said, it is the landscape expressing itself through me. Can the synesthetic interplay of hearing, seeing and making art provide a unifying experience of what it means to attend to and connect with a place in nature? To hear with fresh eyes?

In this five-day course with teachers Jan van Boeckel and David Rothenberg, we immerse ourselves in the wild world of vivid colors and sounds. They will guide participants in arts-based experiences along a spiraling movement out from The Hardanger Academy into the more-than- human world: the garden, the fields, the forest, mountains and coast.

From the sounds of wind, water, and sea to the music made by birds, whales, and insects, Rothenberg has travelled the globe listening for a music older than any made by humans alone, and spent years interacting with such sounds live and in the studio, and introducing this process to students at all levels.

This is the first time he has decided to call the activity “WildSounding,” in homage to his friend and colleague Jan Van Boeckel, who has organized numerous “WildPainting” courses in several countries, where participants are encouraged to paint nature in exciting, uncommon ways.

For years, Van Boeckel has studied what happens when we meet the natural environment through art, putting our preconceived scientific knowledge and understandings at the side, to be able to heighten our receptivity and to engage in fundamentally open-ended learning processes.

No experience in painting or playing instruments is required, but such experience is definitely welcome and helpful! 

Participants will engage in the deep listening technique pioneered by the late Pauline Oliveros, a colleague and collaborator of Rothenberg’s Terra Nova Music , and also learn methods of responding to sound in the tradition of R. Murray Schafer and John Cage, both of whom Rothenberg also worked with.  After a few days of deep listening and nature-sounding, only then will technology be brought into the equation, where we will record the sounds of the environment with small field recorders and microphones, and then learn how to edit music and sound art pieces out of this material using computers running Ableton Live and Max for Live, and iPads running Samplr, Borderlands, and Fieldscaper.

At the end of the workshop students will learn how to listen better to the world surrounding us, and make sonic artworks in response to this listening using a range of technologies.


£383.00 for a luxurious dorm room (max 3 people to room)

£484.00 for twin room
£595.00 for double room single occupancy (£920.00 for double occupancy of double room)
£706.00 for King room single occupancy (£1150.00 for double occupancy of King room)
£920.00 for Master Super King suite (£1260.00 for double occupancy of master suite)
This includes accommodation for four nights, full board of delicious food and all retreat activities. Travel to the space is not included.
Optional extras include massages.

Felipe Viveros

Practitioners: David RothenbergJan van Boeckel

Philosopher and musician David Rothenberg began his career as assistant to ecophilosopher Arne Naess, and he wrote a series of dialogues with Naess called Is It Painful to Think?

In recent years he has focused on the cultural side of ecological philosophy, investigating how art and music find their roots and fullest expression in close contact with the natural world.

Rothenberg is the author of Why Birds Sing, also published in Italy, Spain, Taiwan, China, Korea, and Germany. It was turned into a feature length BBC TV documentary.

Rothenberg has also written Sudden Music, Always the Mountains, and Thousand Mile Song, about making music live with whales.

Rothenberg has twelve CDs out under his own name, including the ECM release One Dark Night I Left My Silent House and the latest Cicada Dream Band and Berlin Bülbul. His latest books are Survival of the Beautiful, on aesthetics in evolution, and Bug Music, on insects and music.

Rothenberg is professor of philosophy and music at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Educated as an anthropologist, Jan van Boeckel has a doctorate degree in art education, and is specialized in art pedagogy. Jan is also a visual artist, art teacher and documentary filmmaker. He is particularly drawn to the field of environmental philosophy and, in that context, the relevance of indigenous peoples’ world views.

Jan’s is above all absorbed by exploring the potential of art as a means to connect to ‘the more-than-human-world’. One of his research interests thereby is the tension between trying to ‘open the senses’ whilst coping with the current ecological crisis.

At Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture in Helsinki, Finland, he founded an international research group on arts-based environmental education.

Van Boeckel’s research focused on a particular aspect of art education: in what ways can artistic practice which engages with our natural environment be conceived as a way of learning in its own right?

In 2013, his book At the Heart of Art and Earth: An Exploration of Practices in Arts-Based Environmental Education was published. Jan is member of the international eco-art network.

Currently Jan van Boeckel is Professor in Art Pedagogy at the Estonian Academy of the Arts in Tallinn.

Previously, he has taught art education and design theory in Iceland, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands.