(ex)tending towards gives form to human/forest alliances, and is driven by the following questions: What does it mean to be alive and have agency?, How can we re-train ourselves to slow down and listen to voices that have been marginalized for millennia?, and What sort of perceptual and mental shifts must occur in order to recognize and value the liveliness and precious vibrancy of individuals that do not share the same language nor temporal reality?
(ex)tending towards uses the data collected from the Foresta-Inclusive infrastructure installed at the rare Charitable Reserve in Cambridge ON. In response to the temporal difference between tree and human individuals, this work explores ways to slow down human engagement, and also to make visible the daily experience of a tree. Inspired by tree rings as evidence of yearly experience, the visualization uses the same logic to visualize the last 24hrs of the tree’s life, where the outer ring shows contemporary values and each subsequent smaller ring the values from the previous hour. The interface for the visualization is a one meter tall cork cylinder that is also a scent sculpture, which releases the scent of geosmin (the scent of a forest after it rains) every time it rains in real-time. The interface is embedded into mud, which also contain a set of sculptural sensor pods identical to the installed pods. Next to the visualization is a point cloud of the tree being sensed, including the 3D models of the installed sensor pods on the trunk. This point cloud is also affected in real time by the live data. This work uses a simple gestural interaction that allows the participant to move into the 3D spaces of the visualization. The slower one moves enables the participant to inspect each ring of the visualization. In its entirety this installation creates an embodied and exploratory space where the deep time of a tree’s life is remembered, and the human body is slowed in an attempt to find a space for both tree and human to engage. This work is the first in a series exploring ways of using technology as a tool to place human and non-human into a dialogical relationship, where both voices are equal despite perceived differences (temporal reality, im/mobility, non/verbal).
This work is created in collaboration with Faadhi Fauzi (three.js programming), and Ilze (Kavi) Briede (point cloud wrangling and Touch Designer)
Grace Grothaus: photogrammetry.
Drone and Lidar scanning: Dr Derek Robinson, Modelling and Spatial Analysis Lab, University of Waterloo, ON. CA.
For financial support:
"Environments of Change" Partnership Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
School of Art, Media, Performance and Design, York University, Toronto, ON. CA.