Savannah Hoover, Soundslides & Burning Man: Being an Artist in All That You Do

Savannah Hoover


In August, 2012, Savannah Hoover and her Sierra Nevada College classmates set out to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to build an art installation called “Project Overlook” for the annual culture festival called Burning Man. The students constructed a giant interactive piece, and observed as fellow “Burners” experienced the artwork. (Read about it in our last  Soundslides blog post.) Afterward, they recorded their experience in a Soundslides audio slideshow. We reached Hoover in New Mexico to get her reflections on her experience using Soundslides and being in such a unique Burning Man class.

What was it like to make the Soundslides audio slideshow?

I made the audio slideshow through the free version of Soundslides, which is convenient for a student journalist. I’ve had some experience with Soundslides before, so telling the story the way I envisioned it was simple.

What was easier, the photography or the sound recording?

If the interviewer’s questions can disappear and the interviewee’s answers can tell a story, that’s how I prefer to tell it. This can make editing the narrative a little painstaking, but I believe the results are worth it. After that, it was easy to select the photos that helped tell the story.

Did you have any challenges putting the audio slideshow together?

The greatest challenge is asking the right questions that will help tell the whole story. Because my sources only had one afternoon to work with me, I had to make sure all the details were asked about and recorded so I wouldn’t be left desperate later that night while editing.

The idea of a Burning Man course is very interesting. What did you get out of it?

Burning Man, as a course, turned out to be a crucial part of my interdisciplinary education because it demanded a little bit from each of the classes I’d taken previously in college. Everything from psychology to outdoor adventure leadership seemed useful in such a unique environment. In the “real world,” a college student or recent graduate can feel a bit useless despite the wealth of knowledge they’ve acquired, but out on the playa, we’re all an asset to the community.

Did you meet any other students in different courses out there?What were they doing?

We heard of one other class taking place on the playa, but we were never able to find them. From what we understood, they were simply trying to survive. Because this was the second time SNC had sent a class to Burning Man, we were a little more tuned into the basics and were more focused on actively participating.

How has the Burning Man course influenced your perspective on life?

The Burning Man course taught me to be an artist in all that I do. Whether it is a small act of kindness or a large scale masterpiece, do it well and do it with love. That way, someone is bound to appreciate it.

Are you going to Burning Man this year?

Yes. I am too curious and too optimistic to turn down an experience that so genuinely hopes to change our culture for the better through art, community and understanding.

Read more from Hoover at her blog, The Savage Searching.


Sierra Nevada College students created  "Project Overlook," an interactive art installation at Burning Man 2012.

Sierra Nevada College students created  ”Project Overlook,” an interactive art installation at Burning Man 2012.

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