The Branch Replacement Project is a series of sculptures.
…the word stump, a word that refers to both the body that is maimed and the prosthetic that replaces it. The stump of a limb is replaced by a wooden leg, also referred to as a stump. The cut-down root of a tree is a stump, and by analogy the limb that is removed from the body is also a stump. […] the human gains a stump from the stump created in the tree.
The Branch Replacement Project uses the prosthetic to explore ways of restoring unity to nature, and to flesh out new metaphoric approaches to thinking about human/nature coexistence. I find trees that have lost branches due to storms or have been pruned back to prevent disease, and replace them with a steel/cork prosthetic. The branches are specifically designed for the chosen tree, and are strapped on using a zip line technique. If the prosthetic were to remain on the tree, the tree would eventually absorb the metal piece, and the branch would appear to be natural.
The first iteration of the Branch Replacement Project was a maquette that took the shape of a branch prosthetic for a telephone/hydro pole – built in 2008. I exhibited this piece in Montreal at the FoFA gallery, and have since installed it permanently in St. Faustin, QC. Canada.
The second iteration of the project was designed for a specific tree in Montréal and it has been permanently installed since 2009. The branch was built during a residency at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson Vermont, USA.
The third investigation for this project was installed for one year in France at CAMAC, which is a residency located in Marnay-Sur-Seine, France. This branch brought together ideas of the Plant(iPod)Installation and the Branch Prosthetics. The branch contains speakers and sensors, which are powered by a solar panel/battery combination. The sound files were processed in Pure Data, and are comprised of a collection of recordings made in the area during the residency. Aside from the natural sounds, I collected meaningful phrases and stories from residents of Marnay and other resident artists. With these sound files I created sonic portraits that explored the individual in direct relationship to CAMAC and Marnay-Sur-Seine itself. As I did the majority of recording on site, when the sound files are triggered by the presence of the viewer, the actual ambient sounds of the yard mix with the sounds played back though the branch. The mono recordings mix with the actual sounds of the environment, creating a multi-channeled sound experience – it becomes difficult to distinguish the real from the recorded/created.
Future Project Proposal – Foresta Inclusive
Solar Branch Prosthetic - Installation and opening exhibition, Marnay-Sur-Seine, Aube, France. 2010