Forest’s Lament

The Forest’s Lament is a two-chanel audio pieces that consists of the sonified stress reactions of trees.

Forest’s Lament. 2021, two-channel audio piece.

The Forest’s Lament audio piece is based on research material mapping the stress reactions of trees at the University of Helsinki’s Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station. For the study, a forest area was selected in Hyytiälä, where half of the trees were cut down. The trees left to grow were equipped with measuring devices that monitored the amount of VOC particles emitted by the trees before and after thinning.

In the measurements of the study, the stress reactions caused by thinning on the trees left standing can be clearly observed. These reactions have been sonified in the work into sounds that can be heard by the human ear. In addition, the piece has sonified the stress clicks of the tree trunks and the variations in the electrical conductivity of the trees.

The sounds used in the piece have been compiled into a sound library, on the basis of which a computer program creates a constantly changing soundscape for the audience to hear; the lamentation of the forest, which stems from the thinning done to it.

The Forest’s Lament it is part of the Barefoot Path, which is an artist run environmental art exhibition focused on environmental and site-specific artworks. To listen to the work, you need a smartphone, headphones and an internet connection:

  1. Use your smartphone to go to the website controlled by the qr code
  2. Put the headphones on your ears and direct your eyes to the forest that has been cut
  3. Press the circle in the middle of the website and listen to the work