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Tree Music in the Park

     More than pleasant scenery and shade-givers, trees in their own way sense and respond to the world. This artwork transforms the internal electrical activity of plants into synthesized music: “branching” the human-tree communication gap.  

     Taking such communication to the next level, some shows are joined by human musicians in an interspecies music performance.

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Video with Audio

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Artist Statement

     Although it’s often observed that our digital technology increasingly removes us from nature, such technology can also be an extension of our natural senses (e.g. hearing aids & cochlear implants). Plants, like animals, communicate internally using electrical and other means and this project gives the audience an immersive, interactive, sonic experience of leaf-life’s otherwise hidden connectivity. The artwork’s electrodes monitor the tree’s biorthymic fluctuations in electrical resistance and the software transforms this into musical tones. This is all housed in what I might describe as a musical-festival-chic flower cart!

      A rich variety of cultures tell of an inherent connection between us and the plant world. In recent years there have been several important popular science books on the subject of plant communication and sentience, and the wood wide web has been discovered. More than just a pleasant listening interlude on the grass, the artwork is an introduction to the world of plant communication via music’s universal language. The performance poses questions such as are the plants responding to the audience and can we learn from their distributed intelligence and networking ability? The series of sonic tree performances challenge the audience’s worldview about the plant kingdom and invites them to consider the possibilities beyond our usual sensory abilities.

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