Meet the Ecotopian Toolmakers: A Q+A with Richard Hamilton

May 3, 2024

Richard Hamilton’s ecotopian tool, Auscultation Points, is an audio soundscape that, like its namesake, will provide a diagnostic. However— instead of diagnosing an ailment within a human body, it will use advanced audio recording and editing techniques to provide the opportunity to listen closely to and meditate on the ecosystems at Morris Arboretum & Gardens.

We hope you’ll join us for Richard’s workshop on Saturday, June 15 from 10 AM - 1:30 PM at Morris! Learn more on our events page.

PPEH: Briefly introduce yourself— Where are you from, what kind of work do you do, and what role you play in this project?

Richard Hamilton: I am from Philadelphia, PA and I am a sound designer and sound mixer primarily working in the film/tv/commercial industry. On this project for the Ecotopian Toolkit, my role on will be the lead sound designer and final mixer, as well as one of the sound recordist collecting the sounds from the field.


PPEH: Tell us a little about your tool (The title, medium, and a brief description of its use and goals). How does your tool inspire and empower human visitors to support multispecies flourishing?

RH: My tool is called Auscultation Points, it is essentially the sonification of the Morris Arboretum. We will use sound recording techniques and our knowledge and expertise in film/tv mixing to create a soundscape that reflects the beauty of this specific place while also highlighting man's encroachment on the natural world and what we stand to lose if we don’t change course. I hope by enveloping the listener with the power of sound, that they can have a transportive experience that allows them to understand and feel the full extent of what can be lost.


A Headshot of Richard Hamilton

PPEH: Where do you find inspiration? Is there anything that’s been of particular inspiration to you lately? (Feel free to speak generally or get specific; we love a recommendation!)

RH: I find inspiration from all over the place! I used to spend a majority of my time consuming movies and other visual forms like it, but these days I really try to stay open to inspiration from anything interesting in other mediums. Whether it be a philosophical concept, an art piece, a science article, a painting, a piece of music, etc. A particular piece that really inspired me for this project specifically was the film/art installation piece Broken Spectre by one of my favorite artists working today Richard Mosse. It's an incredibly powerful piece of work documenting the systematic destruction of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil.


PPEH: What role do you think art/ storytelling play in activism?

RH: I think they play a pivotal role in activism. All art I think, whether people want to admit it or not, is inherently political and shying away from that ignores how powerful art/storytelling can be as a tool for activism.

To read more about the Ecotopian Toolkit, past toolmakers, and this years’ call for proposals visit:

To learn more about Morris Arboretum & Gardens visit: