Created using both processed and unprocessed wood, speakers, Raspberry Pi single board computers, Pure Data, and accelerometer sensors. For De-Arborescence, I worked with the arborist team at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL to remove and shape dead tree stumps, which were generously donated to me. I then outfitted each stump with a speaker whose signal derived from a contact microphone installed directly into the stump attached to, thus creating a feedback tone dependent on the unique structure of each tree root rhizome and the space in which it sits.
These modular sculptures, which function collectively, allow the audience to encounter a visual and aural environment in which the only audible sound is that of the vibrations of the physical world as they resonate through the disfigured tree bodies. Unlike living trees, which have a complex sonic life of biological activities and vibrations of the natural and anthropocene world, these dead, uprooted tree stumps no longer generate their own inherent biological happenings, and are instead presented as disembodied prosthetic sculptures in a gallery space, left to amplify and shift the sonic ambience including footsteps of museum-goers, patron voices, and the hum of the air conditioning in the gallery. The stumps stand as an ecological consequence, hollowed of the inner acoustic sound of life, limited to the empty sounds of the space. What viewers become aware of is the absence of the trees’ own sonic vitality. In the absence of their own vitality, the “trees” can only give us back the transliterated, hollow echoes of our own movements, thoughts, and presence, thus intensifying an awareness of the biospheric consequences of the anthropocene and our seemingly human desire to want to ignore the sound-signs of nature. In fact, it proves that we do not want nature itself (as alterity, as “a vitalism inseparable from a materialism” (Gilles Deleuze)), but only domesticated representations of nature (e.g. a suburban lawn).
Below is a recording taken of the installation.