Project Description

Project Outline for installation at the Sandilands Discovery Centre in Manitoba, Canada:

Foresta Inclusive will be an outdoor sculptural sound installation that will also exist online. The project evolved out of the ‘Branch Replacement Project’. The physical part of the project will be sculptural in nature, attentive to its physical environment and will use local and global data to produce an evolving sound composition. The installation will consist of five to ten sculptural elements that will resemble branches and will fit directly onto trees in an outdoor location. Each sculptural branch will contain one speaker and will be connected to a larger system that is comprised of a number of environmental sensors, and a computer that is powered by a solar panel/battery system. The location for the installation will be in the Sandilands Forest Discovery Centre near the town of Hadashville in Manitoba. The virtual location of Foresta Inclusive will be a lively online site, which will contain all of the audio produced by the installation, show all of the data collected at the site as well host the installations Twitter feed. The forest in Foresta Inclusive will become a filter – a filter through which we can see our world through the rhythms and patterns of the natural world.

The sound component of Foresta Inclusive will be an evolving composition that will include pre-recorded elements mixed with live recordings. The pre-recorded material will be harvested audio samples from the environment (i.e. bird calls, animal sounds, water etc…), recorded stories from retired employees from the Manitoba Forestry Association, and live recordings made on site by visitors to the Sandilands Forest Discovery Centre. All of these sounds will be composed into an evolving sound composition in Pure Data, and the playback will be influenced by data that will be collected in the installation’s physical environment. This data will be collected through a variety of sensors that measure air quality, air humidity, temperature, wind speed and soil humidity (to name a few). Difficult to measure data can also be collected from various online sources such as météomedia or the Environmental Canada Weatheroffice. This information will be used to influence the prominent features of the playback such as rhythm, speed, pitch, and spectral content etc… The resulting soundscape will not render the stories unlistenable – but rather will shape the quality of playback to create a sound experience that will subtly evolve. Because the speakers will be placed on many different trees, the audio will be spread out along a pathway – allowing the viewer to move freely through the space – listening to stories and will allow for the natural intermingling of sound from the natural environment.

The online component of Foresta Inclusive will consist of a single-paged web site. The site will serve as an archive of all of the collected stories as well as host the live audio feed of the evolving sound composition. Next to this will be a live feed of the sensor data providing a regularly updated log of the physical space of the Installation. Alongside this will be a widget of the Foresta Inclusive Twitter feed, which will be following a number of wildlife and conservation Twitter accounts (such as https://twitter.com/Earth_News or https://twitter.com/mongabay). The data from the sensors will also be used to select specific feeds containing certain words in order to re-tweet them therefore allowing the forest to choose the content of its feed. Ways of how to incorporate the Twitter feed in a meaningful way will be part of the research phase of this project. I will also look into other ways that the data can be used to create an online presence.