Sabine Vogel

Entry #2

13.02.2015

All Entries

A week has passed by already. It went fast and at the same time it feels like I’ve been up here for quite a while. We are a nice group all together and I enjoy the company of Daniel, Bryden and Madelynne. It’s very easy to hang out, to exchange thoughts and ideas, but also to leave each other’s space. Nearly every day I have revisited the two trees I found on my first walk. I spend the days exploring different possibilities to let them sound, to create sound, to „play“ them. In one of my past works with Bennett Hogg (from „Landscape Quartet“) and Deniz Peters, I used fishing line to connect trees. Through threading the fishing line through on of the holes of some of the Bansuris (Indian bamboo flute), the Bansuris was played by the wind, but at the same time they amplified the wind harp. I captured this with a contact microphone on the Bansuris, but it was already audible acoustically. The flutes worked as a resonator and amplifier for the wind harp.

Connecting trees refers to a scientific study about the communication of trees: It works through a complex system of roots and some fungus — an underground network. This is the link to the video:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/08/10/mycorrhizae-plant-communication.aspx

Suzanne Simards explains in this video, that there is always a „mother tree“ — the biggest, most dominant tree in an area — that is connected to all the other trees around it and they are exchanging informations.

One of the trees I’m working with, is perhaps one of those „mother trees“. It is a very huge Gum tree, I have no idea what kind. Maybe a Manna gum tree? Both trees have obviously survived many fires. You still see the burn wounds, but nevertheless they are still strong and alive.

I connected these two trees through a fishing line as well, but instead of putting my flutes on it, I used strips of dry bark, that were lying around. Some of the bark strips have bizarre forms. Obvious, they cannot amplify the wind, but I played them, and through the fishing line and with a contact microphone their sound became amplified. Additionally I responded to it through improvising with my flute. The fishing line and hanging bark is the visualisation of the communication. It is also source material for the composition and installation I’m going to set up at the AiR Intervention.

On Saturday we all went to Falls Creek and did a walk in the Alpine National Park, the landscape is amazing. In 2003 there were huge bush fires and I have to admit that the white logs of the burnt trees have a real beauty. Now, more than 10 years later new trees are slowly growing, they appear to be sprouting out of the dead ones. Madelynne took us to Wallaces Hut, surrounding it, there are a numerous magnificent old Snow gums. The area around it has been burnt, but it seems the fire didn’t touch this spot. It’s a magical place. Inside Wallaces Hut, a sign informs us that shelter huts like this were often built on the sacred land of the indigenous Aboriginals. I could imagine that this place and these trees are sacred land. We arrived late in the afternoon and were able to experience the evening light and sound of the birds and crickets, it was beautiful.

All of us agreed on the wish to come back and spend a whole day in this extraordinary place.