This recording is a result of embedding two contact microphones into either side of a tree trunk as the tree is cut down.
carving from allée pin oaks with an angle grinder, 2017. processual material encounter with the temporal archive of the tree.
The goal of this project is to attempt to disorder the cultural archive of the tree with an experiential practice that engages with one tree—and perhaps collapses, ever so slightly, the remove between us. I use an angle grinder to make a hollow in the living material of a pin oak in the campus allée that would shortly be felled. The operation is grounded in experimental veins of cultural geography and archaeology that use performative landscape practices, specifically those involving movement and feel, to foreground the body in the revelation of the human and nonhuman world. The embodiment of the process makes for a lived experience of the material chronology of a tree, its otherness/closeness, and the tightly interlocked grains and folds of its matter—haptic exchanges mediated by a tool across time. The outcome is a kind of intimacy with a tree. The resultant concavity of its substance is a subtly-evolving processual artifact, and an accompanying essay a translation of the practice.
The tree quartet imagines four trees roughly situated at four corners of a piece of the allee as receivers, transmitters, conduits for sound. The trees listen, they perform, they are performed by people, wind, birds. Each tree is equipped with a contact microphone and a guitar amplifier situated to create a space which gathers the four trees and begins to depict the soundscape of the trees as individual attentive bodies and the allee as a collective array of antennae. (recording by Jesse Vogler)
Who can impress the forest, bid the tree
Unfix his earthbound root?
—William Shakespeare, Macbeth IV.1.95-96
[WS means here impress, as to conscript or press into service…]
Hacking into the final weekly
GAC happy hour to congregate
around this tree and sample beers
brewed with oak elements.