This is 'Innerworld' - a multi-media participatory piece using augmented reality.
I present the interiority of the tree and invite us into its world. The audio-visual is hidden within the image, activated via a free downloadable app called Artivive.
Once downloaded, viewers can point their phone to this image (anywhere it appears - try it here) This will trigger the app to play the video I have created below.
About the piece
The tree in the encounter I planted twenty five years ago, it is one of a few hundred trees in a woodland on the land of which I am a guardian. I call this tree the ‘mother’ tree of the wood as it is one of the largest and as an Oak will live longer than most. I have developed a special bond with this tree. We are both part of the same ecosystem, growing together and responding to the experiences during our lives here, in intimate relationship with place, changing it while it changes us.
Using sensor pads, I connect the tree to a device that can read the electromagnetic vibrations of a plant and outputs MIDI signals, which put through a synthesiser translates them into music. A large change in the electrical activity will produce a big jump in the musical note from the previous note. Many external factors influence the activity and in turn the sounds, including my presence.
I sit with the tree and listen for a while. Then I play simple note sequences on the glockenspiel, these vibrations are picked up and may be echoed by the tree. Listen carefully to hear the two notes the tree responds to. I project the intention for this to happen. Plants and trees can detect sound as vibration, thoughts and words as impulses of energy and information, and also intent. They have intelligence and consciousness. They learn, remember, communicate and have their own intentions.
The flow of energy created between the tree and my being enables a dynamic experience of communication and I have afeeling of being welcomed into its world.
The prevailing mechanistic western science does not allow for imagination to open the door to the non-human worlds. We base our science, philosophy and actions on a deadened framing of reality, causing us to see plants and trees only as a commodity for our needs, instead of being grateful for their gifts, often their life sacrifice. A wisdom long practised by indigenous peoples, which science now finds enhances our lives.
Plants have been on this planet, evolving for millions of years. Although there is competition we now know there is huge co-operation between kin, communities and other species which creates healthy ecosystems. Instead of dominating, controlling and manipulating them we would do well to be humble and learn from them, and try and find the plantness in ourselves, if we are to survive and indeed, thrive.
Let’s rekindle the magic and wonder of the natural world in our hearts, embrace diversity and otherness, unifying the human and non-human worlds, and celebrate of all life as one.