EXPERIENCE THE LIFE FORCE OF TREES ~ An Immersive Multi-Sensory Environment.

Mockup of PULSE Installation. There will be seven trees constructed from transparent acrylic tubes. Three tubes will be 2m x 0.5m; two tubes will be 2m x 0.35m; two tubes will be 2m x 0.25m. Each tube will slot onto a circular acrylic base that is bolted to a square steel plate.

PULSE places audiences in the centre of a multi-sensory experience that’s controlled by the life force of trees. Through this project we aim to forge deep connections between people and trees promoting compassion for our natural world and raising awareness around climate change.

There is an urgency amongst scientific communities around the need for humans to change their relationship with nature (IPPC, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2018). As we begin to struggle with the direct effects of climate change, never before has it been so important that we take action and re-evaluate our relationship with our natural environment. Through this project we offer an alternative to human-controlled installations; we  present a tree-controlled installation.

We will track and monitor the natural changes that occur in a specific cluster of trees and use this data to control an all-encompassing exhibition environment in order to provide people with a close and moving connection to the life force of trees.

We will design a unique digital system, consisting of hardware and custom programmed software. This system will be able to record bio data and it will also be able to receive real-time data feeds. We will translate this data into sensory stimuli so that audiences will be able to freely explore a visual, audio, aromatic and haptic exhibition environment that’s controlled by the movement, moisture, sounds and gases of trees.

The exhibition features 2m high transparent acrylic tubes. The tubes will be printed; they will display semi-translucent photographic enlargements of the trees’ biological structure. Effectively, we unveil the inner composition of each tree, inviting audiences into the tree’s core. We want people to feel as if they are inside the tree itself.

Inside each acrylic tube will be programmable LED lights. People will see a light show that’s controlled by tree data. Audiences will also hear a sonification of what this natural environment may sound like from inside the tree. This imaginative soundscape will draw on scientific data. It will be created from a fusion of field recordings (i.e. atmospheric and biological recordings) and electronic music composition. When audiences sit or lie down on the vibrating bench that is in the centre of the installation, they will feel data recordings; recordings that translate the trees’ experiences into vibrational form. The bench will house transducers that will vibrate according to specific tree data. Finally, the installation will house aromatic diffusers; barely perceptible, subtle eucalyptus aromas will permeate the space.

PULSE will operate as a single organism. i.e. The levels of gas in each tree may be represented in subtle colours with gentle audio-haptic feedback. Strong air movement may be presented as a dramatic rush of coloured LED visuals and recorded audio that sweeps through the trees, accompanied by a deep rumbling vibration in the bench. PULSE will operate as a choreographed multi-sensory wonderland on a 15-minute loop. We invite audiences to dissolve into this work, to allow themselves to be effected by the story and experiences of these trees. We encourage people to consider life from a tree’s perceptive.

PULSE will use a range of sensory stimuli to transport audiences into an unique abstract environment. Audiences of all ages, cultures and abilities can freely explore this environment. No language translation, knowledge or assistance is required; the encounter is experiential. People can stand, sit or walk through the installation. The haptic bench that’s at the centre of the work will house approximately three seated people (or one person lying down). This bench invites people to stop, be still and absorb the installation’s atmosphere. Wheelchair enabled people can place their hand/body on the haptic bench to experience this aspect of the exhibition. PULSE will also provide a rich experience for sight and hearing impaired people, as this is a multi-sensory environment; an installation brought to life via numerous sensory stimuli.

PluginHUMAN actively works towards the goal of carbon neutrality. We track the carbon output of each installation. In order to reduce our carbon imprint, we will use recycled acrylic for this project and all unused acrylic off-cuts will be repurposed within other projects or fully recycled.

TEAM MEMBERS AND THEIR ROLES:

Dr Betty Sargeant: Creative director – laser cutting design,  laser cutting, microscopic imaging, image management and post production, acrylic printing manager, field recording artist, bio-sensing recording lead, Arduino programming, structural design and engineering, audience flow and experience design.

Justin Dwyer: Creative director – TouchDesigner programmer, AbletonLive designer, designer of vibration bench, construction of vibration bench, field recording artist, bio-sensing recording, overall digital system management.

Andrew Ogburn: Composer – music composition, treatment of field recordings, audio mixing, mastering.

Dr Andrea Rassell: Microscopy adviser – microscopy training, advice, assistance.

Kent MacPherson: Biological audio recording adviser – equipment and technical advise and assistance.

Bob Gervais: Programmer – additional Arduino programming as required.

Professor Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller: Additional project advisor.

Rakesh Patibanda: Research assistant – participant study manager, academic publication lead.

Coco Dwyer: Youth intern – administration and social media tasks.

Example of an enlargement of a cross-section of a four year old Eucalyptus cladocalyx sapling (Sugar Gum) trunk.