Photo credit: Lars Wohlnick THROUGH A FOREST WILDERNESS. Aktionen im Wald. Performance, Konzeptkunst, Events. Actions in the Forest. Performance, Conceptual Art, Events. 1960 - ∞
Ausstellung im Wald | Exhibition in the forest Berlin | Nikolskoer Landpartie | 6. – 28. Oktober 2018
Music for Trees aims to inspire exchange of energetic imagination between humans and trees. Participants are encouraged to move around the trees in stillness. By ‘performing’ to a tree, the human participant listens to the tree listening back her. A connection is formed, allowing for a potential transcendental experience.
Music for Trees was originally created in 2010 for an environmental art project by Suzanne Husky. At the time, I was researching binaural brainwave entrainment, plant bioacoustics, as well as military, medical and alternative healing documents for the effects of infra- to very high-frequencies on the human body. I came across the Cyma1000, a device used for sound therapy that can play up to five-pitch clusters (or chords) to assist in a type of resonance ‘massage’ therapy. In Music for Trees, selected Cyma therapy drones are used as the initial musical material, with presets such as ‘alpha state’, ’ecstasy’, ‘love’, ‘sona tissue repair’ but using only the frequency ranges for which plants show sensitivity. The frequencies clusters are then divided into independent audio channels and played over independent portable loudspeakers. As participants move through the forest the drone is spatialized. Participants thus contribute to the spatial and telepathic dimensions of the piece.
Following text by Petra Stegman (curator) about the exhibition:
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” Such was the observation of Scottish-American naturalist John Muir in 1890, seventy years before artists around the world began to discover the forest as a creative space for themselves. From the 1960s, the relationship between art and nature entered a new stage, which included performance and action art. While artists of previous generations had aimed at the representation of nature, contemporary artists were entering an intensive, existential and physical engagement with nature. For artists across the world, the forest was no longer a place of romantic glorification or pictorial study. Rather, it was an environment, experienced by the body and involved as a partner in the artistic process. Projected for several years, THROUGH A FOREST WILDERNESS is the first exhibition to focus on this existential dialogue between artists and the forest or trees. It shows how artists challenge themselves, in their engagement with nature, to “live deliberately” in Henry David Thoreau’s sense. THROUGH A FOREST WILDERNESS presents historical works of performance and happening, Fluxus, body art and conceptual art, alongside contemporary works by young artists. An experimental international exhibition, deliberately foregoing the setting of a gallery space, will take place in the forest in October 2018. In this forest, exhibition trees will function as carriers of materials and objects. The presentation will include reconstructions of historical works (conceptual art, minimal art, concrete poetry), photographic documentations of artistic forest activities from 1960 onwards (printed on weatherproof aluminium mount and attached to trees), contemporary artistic interventions (commissions), participative works (instructions for visitors), performances, film screenings, tours, discussions and workshops. The exhibition will aim to reach a wide audience of all ages, as well as art professionals. The presentation aims to sound out the potential of nature as a space for art. It provides lots of space, and invites the visitor into discoveries that lie away from the well-trodden path, so they might gain experiences similar to those of the artists during their activities. There is the opportunity to engage with unusual ideas, without external observation and in peace.“