My project, entitled The Tune is in the Tree, is connected to the Emily Dickinson
Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts, and in particular, the oak on its grounds. In
the course of what has turned into a three-year investigation into Emily
Dickinson, I have become increasingly interested in this tree, possibly the last
living being to have had direct contact with the poet.
The sound produced by trees was often a subject of Dickinson's poetry --trees
as instruments, played by the winds, producing "fleshless chants" that "call the
least of us to undepicted realms." For Dickinson, the "tune is in the tree."
The Homestead Oak is the last of that orchestra, and the sound from that instrument is important to save. I would love the opportunity to capture its voice before it is too late.
I have been given permission by Amherst College and the Museum to make a 24
hour recording within the crown of this tree. I hope to create, through
sculptural and photographic assemblage, controlled by a DMX theatrical lighting
network, the experience of being between the branches at the crown of that
tree, surrounded by its sound and changing light.
The soundscape will be comprised of these recordings, along with historic field
recordings from the Pelham Valley and subterranean bio-acoustical recordings
of the tree's root system. The installation's visual components will be images of
the oak's crown, taken from a cherry picker, printed on bio-degradable voile
floor-to-ceiling panels. Theatrical lights controlled by DMX will bathe the panels
in changeable light.
As a culture we have lost our ability to listen deeply. Gordon Hempton, an
acoustical ecologist and technical advisor to my project, has called silence one
of our most important and endangered resources. He has documented the steadily vanishing natural soundscapes. This installation will address
this deficit and highlight what we have lost
Financiado pelo capítulo Boston, MA (March 2022)