Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Second Week

Back at Longside today.

20 people

Human sensors, asking people to note down the temperature, humidity, atmostpheric pressure and decibels around an oak tree.

Making a stop motion animation based on the data collected from the visitors.

Live data projected from the oak tree. The projection worked really well and looks very interesting when it is changeable weather, it was one of those sunshine and shower days, but with real horizontal rain and wind and then suddenly sunshine and blue skys. At one point the visualisation turned yellow with the sunshine, we’d not seen that before. The temperature as the rain came dropped by the minute and the humidity rose to 99 percent (although we wondered if that was caused by a build up or rain on the sensor).

The activities seemed to work quite well and the animation is building up slowly.

Our ideas are also solidifying. We still have a big gap between the visualisation and the concepts for a physical sculpture, being pulled between the ability to create a dynamic augmented reality on screen and being tied to a physical space when you create a sculptural experience, we’d like to make the augmented space physical… which we did with Chemical Garden, but I am still unsure what materials would create the ethereal experience that the projection is creating.

Have been looking into CO2 as a solid substance and would like to create a tree out of it but it is lethal, can cause frostbite if you touch it and asphysixation in large quantities, sounds worse than the ammonia we used in Chemical Garden to create the salt crystal trees… I like it.

But not for this, I think this is likely to be mechanics and light, but we are thinking this work will evolve and different outcomes, at the tree (the sensors and speakers that enable you to hear a tree in another location), in the forest (tracking your journey through the forest), in the gallery (visualising and interpreting the data as a sculpture).

Our goal for the weekend is to redo the visualisation so that the parameters are more meaningful, to enable people to ‘decode’ the effect of the data on the image and also to enable people standing in front of the visualisation to interact with it.

We will do some tests with audio to see how we can capture audio from the tree and what kind of sounds we can capture.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Going Into the Second Week

Tomorrow we will return to YSP, had a weekend off-ish.

The last 2 days of last week, went well. We had 20 people on Thursday and 32 on Friday. The activities got some really interesting results and some great feedback. The thing that most stood out was a Forester who visited who spoke about the language we were creating through the visualisation of data and said he wanted to be able decode, or understand what the sensor kit was telling us about the tree. Like Carlo, when he saw the visualisations between Sherwood and the Mata Atlantica he said he could tell the health of the tree by the colour, light and it would be great to be able to read the other information too.

This led us to develop an exercise using our bodies as human sensors to decide how we see and percieve the atmosphere, based on our experience or points of reference. We will upload these to the map of the park tomorrow. When doing this exercise another visitor who was a nurse began to talk about some work she had done with patients perception of symptoms and the difference between what they percieve and what they could reveal through medical science. This was really interesting in terms of what we are trying to ‘interpret’ through the artwork as opposed to simply revealing the scientific data… also reflects back to our previous work Heartlands. In a way this project is the opposite of Heartlands, instead of revealing the invisible inner process as we walk through a landscape we are hoping to reveal the invisible external process and our affect as we walk through a landscape.

Next week will be less reflective and more ‘active’. We will start playing with materials, designs, audio, the data…

Day 2

Documentation of the day…

16 visitors

Narratives and Tree Stories themes
6 stories added
The morning involved discussions around narrative and the external experience.
Walked to the oak and birch woodland area near Longside Studio.
Talked about tracking visitors journeys in the forest area, GPS, audio or not, visual or not.
I had an idea about using a phone around your neck to track your journey, light and colour, sound and GPS, to give you audio feedback based on the data from the trees, where you are (shade or open sky) and how close you get to the trees with the sensors on. Using the technology to create a communication between your sensor data and the trees.

Talked about narratives informing the work. Linear narratives such as stories about trees, wrote stories about tree memories and asked members of the public to tell us or write their stories and added them to the wall.

Stories felt too linear and didn’t really answer our questions about the ‘experience’ but maybe could inform an audio trail. Not abstract enough, but maybe this is something you can whisper into the tree, a memory of a tree from a time gone by?

Was told that the work had charmed one man and had a discussion about the performance of us as artists presenting the ideas of the work, he was very interested in this as an experience rather than just looking at an artwork.

Some of the stories were about smell, particularly interesting when talking about memory.
One couple sat for some time and wrote their stories for us.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

At the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The first day of A Conversation Between Trees (pictures to come).

Today was a baptism of fire but a good one. Thanks to all the visitors to the park who came and visited us at the Longside Studios, we meet some really interesting people who engaged with the ideas through talking to us, took the flyers to take photos and map the locations where they found trees and made photographic evidence of the things you don’t normally see in the park, the temperature, humidity, sound, light etc…

We had some great drawings done today, a family spent some time escaping the drizzle and making some beautiful drawings and mapping the trees they could see and imaginary trees based on the themes of the project. We will add these to the map in the morning.

We placed the sensor kit in an old oak tree next to the visitors centre but showed the recorded data from our exhibition in Brazil when we linked a tree in the UK to one in Brazil, as this was a good place to start the project. To see the data collected from the tree click here

Tonight after some drinks in a local pub with the technicians who have been alot of support today and a rather dubious plate of stodgy pub food we spent quite a while playing a not very delibrate game of find the big ASDA in the countryside using the GPS on our iphone and half remembered directions from the technicians.

Having stocked up for the week we went back to the idyllic B&B were I am now - to take over their front room and discuss the schedule for the week and begin to really get our heads around what we want to acheive in terms of developing the new artwork, experiments with the public and on site and also activities for the public. It is strange that it was really hard to get any real ideas of how this would evolve before we arrived, now we are here on site and in the environment with the weather and the quiet and the mix of sculptures, woodland and park we are beginning to really get a grip on what this project could be.

We have been talking tonight about the imaginary space that we want to create both externally in the woodland area and internally in the gallery space. This is potentially a set of narrative clues whilst you are out in the environment that are controlled by the data, and a visual, physical installation that is an imaginary world created by the data.

How this will look and be experienced will be revealed over the next few days.

Planned Schedule (likely to change):
Wednesday - starting a chalk animation that visitors can add to and change, visualising how our bodies can act as a sensor, collecting memories of trees and tree landmarks from ourselves and visitors to begin to plan the narrative and adding them to Google Maps, working on visualising the ‘imaginary space’ created by the data. What could this look like, what would the experience feel like? Adding photos and drawings to the map of the park. Live link to a tree close to the Longside Studio.

Thursday - thinking about the indoor experience, what materials we might use and how it might work, continuing the chalk animation with visitors, drawing imaginary spaces and forests, taking photos of things that look fantastical, magical or unreal in the park. Live link to the old oak next to the visitors centre.

Friday - thinking about the outdoor experience, what will the sensor look like in the tree, how can people interact with it? Designing the new sensor kit, writing narratives and designing how this will evolve. Asking visitors for stories, fairy tales, myths and legends they know about forests. Adding these to the map of the park and other places on google maps where they think they could come from.

more information about the project at: www.thedarkforest.tv