The History of Digital Media 

At The Portland Art & Learning Studios


Our Digital Media program began with a weekly jam session that the artists nicknamed Video Tones. The Video Tones' jams were free-flowing and open to all of the Portland Art & Learning Studios' artists. Soon, we began recording our sessions and incorporating new tools that allowed for exploration in music production. Our artists thoughtfully engaged with the creative process, making music in different capacities. This led to the creation of Laughing Sounds, a compilation album with loose associations to various music genres. 

While working on the album, we also filmed a short movie titled The Migration of Castleship. Our artists were involved in every aspect of the production — from creating props, costumes and sets to recording a soundtrack and performing in front of cameras. A partnership with Open Signal, a community media arts center in Portland, OR, gave us the opportunity to use a professional studio and allowed our artists to expand their creative scope. 


Adaptations and Mods

As technology has broadened the definition of art and made media more easily watched, listened to, and consumed it has also made music, audio, and video production more accessible to a wider range of artists and creators. Our artists now have an unprecedented ability to record and document their artistic expression.

The use of adaptive technologies has enabled our artists to create and edit music, video and audio. Techniques like sampling, quantization and the use of keyboards, synthesizers, and electronic drum machines have provided greater opportunity for those with limited dexterity to produce and craft their own music. 

While exploring Portland with our artists, we captured audio field recordings and video footage. We recorded the sound of public spaces (e.g. the instruments in a music store, the sounds of a bus, bird calls at the park.) This continued process of collecting recordings has opened up the door to manipulating, and mixing new sounds, and pairing them with other instrumentation and our edited footage. Our Goal is to help foster the creation of more diverse forms of artwork with a greater degree of flexibility in medium and artist expression. 

Video Tones is a journal of our artists’ interactions with the world. It serves as a living artistic process with the original music and video art emerging organically as a result. Portland Art and Learning Studio's primary aim is to facilitate creativity and give our artists meaningful authorship of new work and access to experimental forms of media. 


  • To enable our community to create and record original audio, video and music projects.
  • To encourage interaction with the local environment and the Portland community as a creative resource, exploring the process of video and audio recording.
  • To stage performances and exhibit projects that engage with the community and elevate our artists’ and their work to the same level as the rest of the contemporary art world.