Counterstream Radio
New Music Streaming 24/7
New Music Playlists
Browse Music, Video, Interviews and more.

Sound Garden

Performances, installations, and workshops inspiring the conservation of native plants


COLLIDE seeks supports for Sound Garden: a season of interdisciplinary programming at the Ladybird Wildflower Center (WFC), a major botanical garden and research center in Austin, TX.  This project will produce a series of innovative performances, installations, and workshops at one of the nation’s leading botanical gardens.  The project will attract new and diverse audiences to the Wildflower Center, help visitors engage with sound and the natural world in new ways, and create a platform for local artists to create new work that responds to most diverse collection of native Texas plants in North America.

Native plants are the foundation of our ecosystem.  Without them, insects, birds, and other native wildlife cannot survive. Over the past century, urbanization has transformed ecologically productive lands with lawns and exotic ornamental plants.  Our proposed project aims to increase public appreciation and knowledge of this issue. By combining arts programming with nature and science education, we will amplify the mission of the WFC (which is to inspire the conservation of native plants), create groundbreaking new work, and expand public notions of music, sound, and art.

The season of programming will include:


A performative audiovisual tour that explores the importance of fire in environmental stewardship through performance, installation, and radio. Audiences will be provided with an ipod, zine, and binoculars and guided by fire experts throughout the center grounds. (featuring video artist / dancer Yuliya Lanina, robotic artist Matt Steinke, and researcher Matt O’Toole)


A mobile concert featuring line upon line percussion (from NPR’s All Songs Considered).  The roving program, will guide audiences to locations throughout the gardens, will feature work that highlight the sonic potential of native plants and materials.


A series of electronic sound installations and performances throughout the WFC that amplify, interpret, or abstract the hidden sounds of plants, trees, and insects using contact mics, electronic processing, and the translations of of weather data & plants into music.  (featuring new media artists Sam Cusumano & Doug Laustsen)


A printed booklet of curated soundwalks to heighten visitors awareness of soundscape.  This book of soundwalks will provide the public with maps, acoustic points of interest, and contextual information, all to raise awareness of the WFC soundscape, and how it is connected to native species and plants. (featuring Phonography Austin)


An interactive soundtrack that can be downloaded to each visitor’s smartphone.  Partnering with the Soundyarn app, this soundtrack will play a curated soundtrack inspired by the WFC’s collection of native plants that reacts to the user’s location, speed, and orientation.


We will partner with the WFC’s Tanya Zastrow (Director of Programs) to produce a series of educational workshops that explore the intersection of art and ecology.

Topics will include:

– Making musical instruments from vegetation and found materials

– Graphic notation and transcription of soundscape

– Soundwalks

– How to listen to plants with contact mics & Arduino controllers

– An introduction to field recording

– Making music from found materials

Project Media

Like this? Login or register to make a playlist of your favorites pieces.
Features: Steve Parker, COLLIDE

A ritual performance that examines how living creatures navigate space and memory using sound.

Featuring a live audio feed of 1.5 million Mexican Free-Tailed bats (who live under the Congress Street bridge), a conch shell ensemble, a community megaphone choir, garden hose consort, and handmade echolocation devices, modeled after Alvin Lucier’s SONDOLS.

Within, Above and Beyond
Like this? Login or register to make a playlist of your favorites pieces.
Features: Yuliya Lanina

Within, Above and Beyond is a journey inside the mind of an artist. The piece explores the symbiotic relationship that can exist between the artist and her work. Through creativity, the artist is able to explore the depth of tragic experience by unlocking the hidden parts of her subconscious that lay dormant in its wake.

Van Gogh From Space
Like this? Login or register to make a playlist of your favorites pieces.

“In the style of Van Gogh’s painting Starry Night, massive congregations of greenish phytoplankton swirl in the dark water around Gotland, a Swedish island in the Baltic Sea. Phytoplankton are microscopic marine plants that form the first link in nearly all ocean food chains. Population explosions, or blooms, of phytoplankton, like the one shown here, occur when deep currents bring nutrients up to sunlit surface waters, fueling the growth and reproduction of these tiny plants.” – NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Start and End Dates



Austin, Texas

Project Created By

Austin, Texas
Steve Parker is an artist, musician, and curator living in Austin, TX. Parker creates communal, democratic work to examine history, systems, and behavior. His projects include elaborate civic rituals for humans, animals, and machines; listening sculptures modeled after obsolete surveillance tools; and cathartic transportation symphonies for operators of cars, pedicabs, and bicycles. He is the recipient…

In Collaboration With

featured artist
Austin, Texas
featured artist
Producing organization
Austin, Texas


Leave a Reply