Planes of Thought and Sound explores landscape as language in a gesture of communication from one dry lakebed to another. Building on ideas of semiotics and definitions of biological and material communication, I act as a facilitator between the Harper Dry Lake Bed in Hinkley, California and the Chicago shore of Lake Michigan, once the site of the ancient glacial Lake Chicago. As facilitator, I participate in the transfer of geophone recordings and water as media of exchange.
Drunken Text Messages From An Oak Tree documents a series of drunken text message conversations between myself and the oak tree from Virginia Woolf's Orlando. My work uses technological mediation to search for new forms of communication with the natural world. This piece approaches to an historic literary text via devices of contemporary communication.
cell phone video
Concert for plants by plants is a series of live performances by plants for audiences of invited houseplants, mediated by the world wide web. The piece was first performed on April 26th 2012, when a cherry tree in western Massachusetts delivered a live performance to an audience of invited houseplants in Chicago, IL. Attached to the cherry tree was a piezo sensor, which measured the tree’s vibrations. These were uploaded to the world wide web using an Ethernet Pro as a server, and a friend’s wireless router, configured to allow port forwarding. On the Chicago end, a processing sketch gathered the data and wrote it to the serial port my laptop. An Arduino attached to the laptop output the data to transducers, which were attached to ceramic saucers (and later, a plywood shelf) as the medium for the vibrations.
Seductiveness the Which Issued by the Whole Person is the first in a series of novels written by trees. For the piece, I developed a framework for conversation between myself and an oak tree, based on a relationship formed between vocal vibration, the tree’s vibration, and the literary text of Virginia Woolf’s “Orlando.” Using piezoelectric sensors I measured the tree’s vibrational response to my reading, and with custom software I established a key of translation for the generation of a new text. Produced through a process of reading, listening, and translating, the text of the novel offers rare moments of poetic and grammatical clarity.
Test piece of wood grain text generated from the Written by Trees series, engraved into the upper grain of plyboard.
The Character Recognition Series considers the landscape as a literal document. I begin on site, taking digital images of the landscape. I then turn these images into pdfs. Using Optical Character Recognition software, I search for text within these images. These texts then serve as a score for onsite video performances. Harms Woods is an area of urban recreation at the edge of the city of Chicago. It is the site of an effective native habitat rehabilitation plan.
print and performance score
Phytovision is a body of work that invites the viewer to adopt a phytocentric perspective. Scientific research has indicated that many plants can percieve light and shadow, as well as the colors red and blue. Phytovision - Invasion of the Body Snatchers remixes the popular cult film based on Jack Finney's 1954 Novel. The film was made in 1956, and remade in 1978 and again in 1954. This remixes the 1978 version, for live scoring.
Upon Writing Grass is a story written by an oak tree in Chicago, the third generation of a series of texts written by trees. Embodied in a wooden floor, the story emerges as both text and vibration. The floor itself is made of sustainably harvested white oaks from Chicago, milled by hand and engraved with grains of text. Visitors are invited to remove their shoes to walk or sit on the boards. Visitors who linger can feel and hear soft vibrations of creaking trees.
Forest Floor is a floor made from castoffs of locally milled cedar logs. Located at the Visitor Center Artist Camp in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the floor is a platform for activation. Temporary in nature, the cedar logs will slowly degrade over the course of 25 years, marking an extended moment in time and space.
Playing a Cactus - after John Cage records an encounter with a dead cactus found in a desert landscape. Brushing up against its edges with my own edges, moments of contact are amplified as I explore resonances activated by our meeting and recorded using a geophone.