Project by Pascal Champagne, Martin Desrosiers, Thierry Dumont and Jason Hendrik
Chained Forest" is an interactive audio-sculptural installation. Incorporating trees, stumps and branches, chains, saw dust, loud machinery noises, and for contrast, some peaceful birdsongs. The goal of our user interaction is to get our users to stop the noise, to stop the machines… and hence allow the songs of the birds to be heard again...
The aim of our proposed interactive sculptural project is to engage viewers such that they may rethink and reimagine both their cultural and personal impact on our natural world. As a group, we felt that many of the ongoing discussions surrounding ecological sustainability and socio-cultural rehabilitation have been little focussed on the impacts of deforestation. Deforestation has a devastating effect on the natural world, causing great losses of biodiversity, desertification, economic imbalance, and is a prolific contributor to greenhouse emissions which leads to global warming. Our work shows that the earth's forests are all ecosystems which have taken years to evolve. We present how they have been and are being uprooted by a capitalist nature-death machine. Our research shows the use of gigantic chains and large super-tractors to clear entire landscapes for mono-crops like palm oil and soy and for the production of coal and other by products. Essentially, our project demonstrates how political, social, and cultural efforts need to be simultaneously realigned to support sustainable life. The piece is loud and noisy when nobody is interacting with it, emitting industrial sounds, creating feelings of unrest and discomfort. When users provide the necessary attention, the noise diminishes revealing the birdsongs and soft ambient nature sounds. Our intention is to establish an engaging experience to provoke considerations of our relationship with nature. This project required some travel, sculpting, electronic circuitry, and Arduino programming. We had to transport, cut and sectioned trees from a sustainable source into Concordia's EV building and then prepare them for our sculpture. We integrated small electronic components and circuitry into the trunks and onto the branches and then suspend the trees using metal chains. We incorporated both acoustic and digital sounds as well as ambient lighting into the work, using mechanical devices, branches, speakers, solenoids, lights, and piezos. Employing the computational techniques we have learned, our interactive sculpture "sense" the users, and their presence determines the state of the piece.
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