Sonoran Surroundscape at SXSW

By Hunter Lohse, Aliz Potucek, and Christian Galindo
Score by Yuanyuan (Kay) He, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Music
Abstract colorful shapes

WONDER HOUSE @ SXSW 2022 Experience:

Surroundscape daily between talks

Friday–Sunday, March 11–13, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.

For thousands of years, the beauty of the Sonoran Desert has invoked wonder amongst its human inhabitants. Sonoran Surroundscape is an immersive audio/visual experience that inspires users to reflect on the relationships between the colors, form, and sounds extracted from the desert. Interaction between users is encouraged as the surroundscape is one of contemplation and curiosity.

Form and colors were abstracted from photographs and topography maps and painted onto watercolor panels. The panels were digitized, digitally rendered, then categorized into three different periods of the day: DAWN, NOON, DUSK. Each score was composed by Dr. Kay He.



Headshot of Hunter Lohse

Project Lead: Hunter Lohse is a first year MLA student in the College of Architecture, Planning, & Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona. He received his B.S. of Textiles and Apparel from the University of Texas at Austin. A Texas-native, Hunter draws inspiration from his background in fashion, education, and real estate and his appreciation of natural landscapes. He recently returned from a two-year Peace Corps service in the Philippines and is currently a Paul D. Coverdell Fellow. He is an advocate for habitat preservation and restoration and is interested in studying the roles of ecology, democracy, design, and history in landscape architecture. Outside of the studio, Hunter enjoys running, practicing yoga, and hiking up Tumamoc Hill.

Alizabeth Potucek

Alizabeth Potucek is a first year MLA student at the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona. Before pursuing her master’s, she worked for non-profits and governmental organizations focusing on restoration ecology, sustainable agriculture and community development.  She is interested in creating in social spaces which synthesis human and ecological needs to address the issues of climate change and rising social inequality. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. She completed a two-year service in Cameroon as a Peace Corps Volunteer and is currently a Paul D. Coverdell Fellow. In her spare time, she likes to explore the landscape and the desert biota on her bicycle.

Headshot of Christian Galindo

Christian Galindo is a first year MLA student at the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona. Originally from Yuma, Arizona, Christian moved to Tucson a few years before beginning his undergrad studies in Sustainable Plant Systems at the U of A. With interests in sustainability, activism and art, Christian participated in on-campus organizations like Students for Sustainability, where he served as the chair of the Environmental Health Committee and the Plant Science Club, serving as the vice president and eventually club president. This participation led him to graduate as the “Outstanding Senior” of his major, an award given to students who’ve shown dedication to their academics and extra-curriculars. One of his favorite experiences during his undergraduate career was studying abroad in Vienna, Austria for a semester to study sustainable agriculture and urban sustainability. Desiring to continue pursuing his interests in art, activism and sustainability, Christian decided to continue his studies at the graduate level in Landscape Architecture because he believes that this is where all these interests intersect. Christian is inspired by Tucson’s cultural and ecological diversity and is excited to be studying landscape architecture there. He looks forward to a career designing spaces that are equitable and inspiring for all those who inhabit them.

Headshot of Travis Mueller

Travis Mueller is an independent landscape designer and an adjunct lecturer for the Master’s in Landscape Architecture program in the School of Landscape Architecture and Planning. His teaching and studio courses focus on the aesthetics and details of design, the design process, and urban design. Before joining the university as a lecturer in 2016, he held positions at Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, .dwg Urban Landscape Architecture, and Tait Moring and Associates in Austin, Texas; Bernard Trainor and Associates in Monterey, California; and Olin in Philadelphia. Travis holds a master's in landscape architecture from the University of Arizona and a Bachelor of Arts in music from The University of Texas at Austin.

Headshot of Kay He

Composer: Dr. Yuanyuan (Kay) He is a composer and video artist with roots in China.  Her works often explore and intertwine various forms of media to create unique audiovisual experiences that engage the audience. Many of her works involve collaborations with choreographers, dancers, video artists, audio technicians, and stage lighting and design artists. As a multimedia composer, she is very active in the music community. Kay serves as the Creative Director for Electronic Music Midwest (EMM), which is an annual music festival dedicated to programming a wide variety of electroacoustic music and providing high-quality electronic media performances. She is also the founder and Director of the Tucson, AZ-based TURN UP Multimedia Festival, which promotes Equality, Culture-Connecting, and Interdisciplinary Collaboration and encourages partnership between different fields, cultures, and genders. She is currently Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona, where she teaches composition, electro-acoustic music, and orchestration.