Hidden Garden Exhibition


The Hidden Garden

At High Tech High Media Arts, the curriculum for students is frequently interdisciplinary. This means many collaborations between instructors across diverse disciplines. I wanted to try something new and so I took on the challenge to develop a project with John O’Reilly, our school’s environmental science teacher. After a summer of searching for a garden to host a digital art and science exhibition, it turned out that there was an old navy garden just a few blocks away from our school. It was active in the 1920’s but neglected after the navy had moved on many years ago. After much paper work (and leg work) we secured this magnificent garden for our students to develop and discover. John quickly got the students blossoming a gorgeous set of plots with flowers and food. I worked with the students to develop multimedia projects revolving around environmental science with strong components in aesthetic design. Some students made films, others produced animations.  A few groups even produced environmental sound installations revolving around acoustic ecology and bird watching. One group pursued photography by researching local organic produce availability and producing a recipe book. All students were required to also grow a plant at home and produce a time-lapse of its progress. We exhibited these mini-films on flat screens buried in the dirt. Quickly, we realized that there was opportunity for the entire senior teaching team (across disciplines) to cultivate projects from their students for this final winter garden exhibition. Below, you will find all instructor project descriptions, photos, student projects and a short documentary movie about the event and the collaborations that came out of it.

The Experience of Environment
Environmental Science & Multimedia
Instructors Margaret Noble and John O’Reilly
Science and digital art came together in sound, video and interactive installations that examined the social, economic and physical complexities of our environment.

Art & Humanities
Instructors Josh Krause and Rachel Nichols
Inspired by the Japanese Shoji tradition, students wrote Haiku poems and silk screened them onto hand-built lamps that illuminated the landscape on exhibition night.

Fractal Projections
Art, Mathematics & Multimedia
Instructor David Stahnke
Through mathematical analysis and computer graphic design, students produced fractal art slides that were cast onto the interior garden walls.

The Hidden Garden
Environmental Science
Instructor John O’Reilly
Creating and nurturing a community garden, students explored environmental science themes like biodiversity, composting/waste reduction, nutrient cycling, and sustainability.

Teacher Collaboration Documentary:

Student Projects:

28 Day Plant Stop Motion

Created by the entire 12th Grade Class
Students were asked to document the growth of a plant in their home through photography for 28 days.


Created by Lia Bruce, Scott Lindquist and Vanessa Alcaraz
Experimental film examining the environmental problems of deforestation.
2010 IVIE AWARDS NOMINEE: Best Humanities Film

Quantity Over Quality

Created by Jing Calpito and Nicole Arenz
Narrative film about the nutritional short comings of school lunches.
2010 Sharing Solutions: Student Sustainability Film Festival – Top 10 Finalist

Where Did The Honey Bees Go?

Created by Lyric Tully and Sophie Barnhorst

Photo essay and documentary about the environmental importance of bees.
First Place Winner in the 2010 California Student Media Festival for Best Photo Essay

Environmentalism Above and Beyond

Created By Wyatt Watt
A satirical documentary considering the unsung environmentalism of the homeless and the social justice movement.

The Wonderful World of Food

Created by Kevin Middleton and Sarah Flores
Do you know what you are putting into your body?
First place winner in the 2010 California Student Media Festival Best Acting
2010 Sharing Solutions: Student Sustainability Film Festival –
 Top 10 Finalist

Our Wacky World

Created by Will VanRoon
Parody of a 1990’s styled show for children that looks at the problem of invasive species.

What Does It Take To Grow A Garden?

Created by Margaux Gunning and Geraldine Villegas
Documentary on a start-up school and community garden.

Recycle Your World

Created by Sara Brant
Documentary film which examines the creative choices we can make to improve our environment.
2010 IVIE AWARDS NOMINEE: Best Documentary Film

Green Gold

Created by Sydney Lampe
Algae as biological fuel to power our future.

Cooking With Mariah

Created by Mariah Teemsma and Stephanie Santiago
Spoof cooking show on how to make the processed food known as Cool Whip.

Let’s Go Green

Created by Alex Parra and Leo Tabalon
Critique of the supposed “green” members of society and their pitfalls.

Where Do You Eat?

Created by Martin Arguelles
Experimental silent film examining urban food sources and their cultural, social and economic impact on neighborhoods.

Urban Sound Pollution


—> Sound Art Project: Listen Here <–

Created by Ray Benito and Jeremy Sheahan

We are bombarded by an overwhelming amount of sound pollution every day. We want to raise awareness by painting a sound picture of an urban city which transitions to the countryside over time. Our research shows that people who live in the city have higher levels of stress compared to people that live in the rural areas.

Sounds of Wasted Energy


–> Sound Art and Graphic Design Project: Listen Here <–

Fractal art, research and sound production by Daniel Ludwig and David Ceballos

The Sounds of Nature


–> Sound Art and Graphic Design Project: Listen Here <–

Composition, field recordings, research, photography and design by Caesar Michel and Trae Washburn

Melt Down

Created by Allie Olson and Adam Southgate
Flash Animation about illegal nuclear waste dumping by international governments in rural Russia.

The Life of a Cigarette Butt

Created by Amanda Alipio and Roberto Sotelo
Stop-motion animation tracking to life of a cigarette butt.

Risky Clothing Business

Created by Erin Skovmand
Animated remix song about the risks of synthetic fabrics.

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