Trees: Pinus sylvestris

Marcus Maeder
In the research project 'trees: Rendering Ecophysiological Processes Audible', we worked on the acoustic recording, analysis and representation of ecophysiological and climatic processes in and around plants and studying the acoustic and aesthetic requirements for making them perceptible. We recorded sounds of plants and brought them in relation to other measurement data such as that relating to the microclimate, sap flow, changes in trunk radius and water potential in the plants’ organs – measurement data that is not auditory per se. How can processes that are beyond our normal perception be made directly perceptible, creating new experiences and opening a new window on nature for scientists, artists and the general public? To what extent is our sense of hearing of use? The product of our research project, the installation 'trees: Pinus sylvestris' replays sonifications of ecophysiological measurement data as well as recordings of acoustic emissions of a tree from early summer 2015 – the peak of the growth period of our experimentation plant, a Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) located in the central Swiss Alps in Salgesch in the canton of Valais. The installation is designed as an artistic observation system that transforms ecophysiological data into a generative piece of music. 'Trees: Pinus sylvestris' makes experienceable and audible the normally hidden processes by which a plant copes with its local conditions.