|Shot in "portrait" frame the projected image shows
a large leafless tree, back-lit against a stormy winter sky. In
the background, low wooded hills recede into the distance and in
the lower foreground, a slope of dry, frost bleached, grasses.
The occasional human presence, figures huddled against the winter
chill, hurry by as if blown by the wind and rain. The shrill cries
of starlings, surge through the frozen air, like static from a
short wave radio and the half imagined sound of an aeolian harp
drifts formlessly through the upper branches.
The moving images of the tree were shot in three separate takes,
each take was shot from a different angle twenty degrees apart
keeping the tree in the centre of the frame rather like the viewpoints
of a cubist painting. Shooting took place over a period of several
hours recording multiple single frame exposures to emphasize
the changing relationship between the tree branches and the cloudy
sky. The still images were made into three quick time movie sequences.
The ingredients of the sound mix include distant human voices,
bird cries (starling and raven), wind sounds, footsteps on a
nearby gravel pathway and a specially written program simulating
the harmonics of the Aeolian harp.
The interactive system which drives the installation, takes
data from wind sensors positioned on the roof of the gallery
and turns this information into frame rate, picture and sound
edit decisions and sound mix levels. In this way the installation
operates like wind powered edit suite where all of the edit decisions
are made by nature. The incoming weather data is also displayed
on a console, which is prominently exhibited as part of the installation.
Input from the weather station tend to push the system towards
instability, cross cutting from one camera angle to another,
shifting between modes of generative sonic representation, and
thereby constantly creating new and unexpected combinations of
picture and sound from the same set of pre-recorded components.
The ‘shape’ of the work, at any particular moment
in time, is governed by the forces of nature, which surround
the building. The installation as a whole, suggests an environmental
model in which technology and nature work collaborative as parts
of one interconnected living system.
The flickering, ephemeral nature of the projected image combined
with the changing winter light create an uneasy equilibrium between
the power and presence of the tree which dominates the frame
and the wind swept clouds and fleeting human presence. The over
all feeling of the work is somber and elegiac, reflecting the
vulnerability and transitory nature of all living systems.