In August, an exciting collaboration involving TIMARA majors Ivy fu and Maya McCollum brought TIMARA out of the basement and into the great outdoors! With a shared artistic vision and two kayaks (and probably a great amount of other provisions necessary for surviving in the wild), Ivy and Maya took a six-day trip down the French River in Ontario, camping and collecting along the way.

In true TIMARA fashion, they collected audio recordings from nature. But they also took with them memories of the rich environment that surrounded them. They found chains, shells, fish bones, lichens, and mosses along the river. They even encountered stone and metal landmarks that preserve the river’s unique history as a transportation corridor for industry in the 1800s. 

Abandoned steam boat engine found in the river.
Abandoned steam boat engine.

All of the sights and sounds the duo experienced during their time on the river will eventually culminate in a virtual experience that others can enjoy via an iPhone app. This virtual world, which Ivy and Maya are taking great care to craft, will feature an interactive map of the French River with hidden points along its path. As people explore the map, they will unearth more and more of the river’s mysteries, revealing objects and soundscapes inspired by and sourced from the river itself.

Still image from French River iPhone App by Ivy Fu and Maya McCollum.
French River (screen capture) by Ivy Fu and Maya McCollum

Although this ambitious and imaginative project would have seen Ivy and Maya on the river for much longer than a week, practical constraints such as equipment costs are all too real (as plenty of TIMARA majors and general gearheads can attest to). This is why support from Oberlin’s Grindlay Fund was of enormous help to the pair. With this funding, they were able to experience the river firsthand, gaining from this the knowledge and wisdom necessary for turning their creative vision into a reality.