Since I became aware a few years ago that trees audibly mourn when a neighboring tree is cut down, I have wondered what is the sound that a tree makes. In the tree-cutting study I read, the tree’s sound was tracked only by vibration levels, but not sound. Now I’m one step closer to knowing.
In a project called “Years”, artist Bartholomäus Traubeck cut thin slices of tree trunk and assigned to each type of pattern in them, a sound. As a camera mounted on a phonograph machine in the position of needle plays over the patterns, they are translated into sound and my gosh, those sounds are marvellous. Listen …
A tree’s year rings are analysed for their strength, thickness and rate of growth. This data serves as basis for a generative process that outputs piano music based on the year ring data. Those are analyzed for their thickness and growth rate and are then mapped to a scale which is again defined by the overall appeareance of the wood (ranging from dark to light and from strong texture to light texture). The foundation for the music is certainly found in the defined ruleset of programming and hardware setup, but the data acquired from every tree interprets this ruleset very differently.
I guess this film is not going to be a blockbuster but reviewers say A Walk in the Woods shows beautiful views of protected forest. It helps deliver Redford’s basic message to America: protect our natural treasures, because they’re worth protecting … and by the way, it stars Redford and Nick Nolte.
It’s a story about men and friendship, buoyed by (author) Mr. Bryson’s light self-amusement (he refers to his pre-walk years of “waddlesome sloth”) and smooth storytelling that encompasses bite-size histories, expansive lists, blue notes and zoological asides on loons, mountain lions and especially bears. It’s a pleasurable read and Mr. Bryson’s writing does what Ken Kwapis’s filmmaking can’t do, which is take you on the trail so that you too trudge, struggle and soar while observing flora and fauna and man’s inhumanity to each.