Irena Pivka, Brane Zorman: garden GOround

AR soundwalk, 50 min
Sunday, 30 Jun and Monday 1 Jul, at 19:30
Tomšič tree avenue, Ljubljana

Register for the soundwalk

The speculative story of the soundwalk performance garden GOround points to the problematic relationship between people and plants, which is geared to mainly benefit people. The colonialism itself and the human-mediated dispersal of plants capitalize on the subjection and exploitation of nature. It is vital to radically change this attitude if we want to deal effectively with the existential threat of ecological crisis and contemplate a brighter scenario for the future. To become more familiar with the world of plants, garden GOround goes into the temporal dimension. Through the prism of the journeys of these two utterly different temporalities of humans and plants, seemingly offering no possible point of encounter, it speculates on the development of a future solidarity-based coexistence of humans and plants. Plants, the most populous species on the planet, live at their own pace in their own time, walking the paths we cannot access. garden GOround will take us along the paths of a possible future scenario for our overstressed, noisy planet mirrored through the development of local greenways. Can we learn from plants to build a more solidarity-oriented future?

The audience experiences the soundwalk through specially developed headphones used as a tool to speculate the world and the sonic landscape of the future. The world is getting too loud and harmful for our sensitive ears, which have failed to adapt to aggressive frequencies. To survive outdoors, we will need headphones that will both mute and sharpen the sound image and, at the same time, take us into the acoustic narrative.

The soundwalk is broadcast on an AR (augmented reality) headset, the result of an innovative  in-depth collaboration between the artist and hardware and software developers. The AR headset allows for simultaneous amplified, binaural ambient listening and audio co-composition. They also include an FM receiver module and an EMS sensor input.

The soundwalk path connects the Orangerie Park in Strasbourg and the Tivoli Park in Ljubljana, both designed during the reign of Napoleon. The featured photograph was taken in a disrupted avenue locked today between a road and a railway. It is part of a larger avenue complex in the Tivoli Park, designed by the French at the time of the Illyrian Provinces. The vocalist, dressed in a Slovene folk costume, wears original AR headphones and listens to the landscape.

In their collaborative work, Irena Pivka (artist, SI) and Brane Zorman (artist and composer, SI) explore the connection between a place, sound, a map and digital tools. They develop artistic expressions in augmented reality (AR), create site-specific soundwalks and listen to the shifted, speculative soundscapes.

A testimony form one of the participants of the AR soundwalk:

“Many thanks to the artists and the Apollonia team for this very inspiring “Sound Walk” in the Parc de l’Orangerie, so beautiful in this early spring. It was like being a little weightless. 45 minutes, with the boundaries between reality and fiction seemingly blurred.”

24 and 25 Jun 2023
Teatri ODA (Priština)

1 and 2 Jul 2023
Apollonia (Strasbourg)

29 Sep 2023
Valvazor Park (Ljubljana)


Concept, text and headphones design: Irena Pivka
Sound composition and editing, sensorial headset concept: Brane Zorman
Vocal: Alja Petric
Lučka Počkaj, Alja Petric, Toni Cahunek (Slovene)
Jana Wilcoxen, Alja Petric, Toni Cahunek (English)
Nataša Živkovič, Suzana Koncut, Loup Abramovici (French)
Proofreading, English translation: Melita Silič
English editing and proofreading: Jana Wilcoxen
French translation: Anne-Cécile Lamy-Joswiak
French editing: Suzana Koncut
Photography, design: Matej Tomažin
Illustration: Jovana Djukić
Hardware and software development and testing, android application: Brane Ždralo
PCB printing, electronics assembling: Zdravko Janšovec
Electronics assembling: Ivan Kvasič
3D printing: Cveto Kunešević, 3Dimension
Headphones assembling: Staš Vrenko
Produced by CONA, 2023

VITAL creates an innovative ecosystem that respects the environment and, through art, participates in the fight against global warming and air pollution.

VITAL is co-funded by the Creative Europe programme by the three-year “Strasbourg European Capital” Contract and supported by the Ministry of Public Administration of the Republic of Slovenia and the City of Ljubljana, Departmen of Culture.

Text sources:

Gray, Ros and Sheikh, Shela (ed.). “The Wretched Earth: Botanical Conflicts and Artistic Interventions”. Third Text 32(2–3).
Kunst, Bojana. “Rastlinsko življenje in prostori umetnosti: o nedostopnem in vzajemnem”. Ana Mizerit (ed.). Zasilni izhod [Exhibition catalogue]. Ljubljana: Moderna galerija, 2022.
Thorsen, Line Marie (ed.). Moving Plants. Rønnebæksholm, Næstved: Narayana Press, 2017.
Sagan, Dorion. “The Human is More than Human: Interspecies Communities and the New “Facts of Life”.” Theorizing the Contemporary. Fieldsights, 18 Nov 2011.
Raja, Vicente. “Moving the Green: Plant Behavior in the Human World“. EuropeNow 45, Nov 2021.
Sidebottom, Kay. “Education for a More-Than-Human World”. EuropeNow 45, Nov 2021.
Marder, Michael. “Resist Like a Plant! On the Vegetal Life of Political Movements“. Peace Studies Journal 5(1), Jan 2012.
Brkič, Vanja. “Mestni park Tivoli: Tivolski drevoredi so bili Ljubljančanom od nekdaj v ponos“. Dnevnik, 10 Oct 2015.
Strasbourg Park,