Link zu WSL Hauptseite Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL
 

Birmensdorf/Paris, 26.11.2015

Research project of WSL and ZHdK on show at the World Climate Summit in Paris

COP21_Trees_autoren_kl.jpg
Acoustic researcher Marcus Maeder (left) and tree ecophysiologist Roman Zweifel: both are passionate about rendering the secret life of trees. Click on photo to enlarge. Photo: Reinhard Lässig/WSL
 
COP21_Trees_pinus_kl.jpg
Wired pine in the Swiss Valais: various sensors record the physiological processes in the tree and the ultrasounds it produces. Click on photo to enlarge. Photo: Reinhard Lässig/WSL
 
COP21_Trees_installation_kl.jpg
Visitors at the World Climate Summit in Paris will be able to experience the recorded and converted sounds as well as close-up images of the tree taken during 24 hours by two web cams. Click on photo to enlarge. Photo: Marcus Maeder/ZHdK
Copyright Notice: The Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL provides the artwork for imaging of press articles relating to this media release for free. Transferring and saving the images in image databases and saving of images by third parties is not allowed.

French President François Hollande has invited the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL and the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) to present a joint research project at the very heart of the World Climate Summit in Paris. The audio installation trees: Pinus sylvestris converts the physiological noises of trees into audible sounds.

This media-art installation was created as part of the project trees: Rendering Ecophysiological Processes Audible, run jointly by ZHdK and WSL. Hollande experienced the installation first-hand at ZHdK's Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology on 16 April 2015 during his state visit to Switzerland. He subsequently invited its creators to exhibit it at the World Climate Summit.

Wired for the sake of art and science

The aim of the trees project is to make tree noises perceptible in artistic form. Tree metabolism creates a variety of sounds that are not normally audible to humans. This project, which ran from 2012 until 2015, was carried out by ZHdK sound artist Marcus Maeder and ecophysiologist Roman Zweifel from the WSL Forest Dynamics Research unit. They charted the noises and metabolic processes of a Scots pine in the Swiss Alps with special sensory equipment. Maeder then used computer technology to convert the data recorded during the research, such as stem diameter variation and sap flow in the branches, into sounds.

Most of the noises occurring in a plant are caused by drought stress. Thirsty plants make inaudible noises that tell us both about their own condition and their environment. The observation system used in the project allows researchers to find out how plants respond to increasingly long periods of heat and drought.

ZHdK's audio installation will be on show in Hall 3 of the Parc des Expositions Paris-Le Bourget from 30 November until 11 December 2015. 

Further information

Contact

  • Project leader: Marcus Maeder, Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology, Zurich University of the Arts, marcus.maeder (at) zhdk.ch, mobile: +41 78 841 93 68
  • Scientific partner: Roman Zweifel, Forest Dynamics Research Unit, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, roman.zweifel (at) wsl.ch

 

Spacer