“Created using both processed and unprocessed wood, speakers, Raspberry Pi computers, Pure Data, and microphones. For this piece, 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 placed on the opposite side, thus creating a feedback tone dependent on the unique structure of each tree root and the space in which it sits.
These modular sculptures, which function collectively as an installation, allowed the audience to encounter a visual and aural environment in which the only audible sound was that of the vibrations of the physical world as they resonate through the disfigured tree bodies. Unlike a living trees, which have have complex sonic life of biological activities and vibrations of the natural and anthropecene 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 ambiance including footsteps of museum-goers, patron voices, and the hum of the city which houses the gallery. The stumps stand as an ecological consequence, rendering audible the absence of the inner acoustic sound of the living tree, thus limiting guests to the hollow sounds of the space, as amplified, feedback(ed) and filtered via each stump.
The technological apparatus which works to generate this sonic ambiance, reveals only human encounters in the space, amplifying only the hum of guests and the built environment. 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).”