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Thinking Tree

Thinking Tree

Sound installation, 2002, in collaboration with Sung-Eun Kim

“…I am interested in a static moment. I believe that we experience the world and its beauty by experiencing its static moments. In any given static moment, our perception and understanding of the world expand at an accelerating rate.  I also believe that we perceive the world not in time; rather, our perception takes a big leap at that moment. While the moment is static, it is eternal. Personally, my understanding of the world is made of a set of the moments, where all the memories of these moments are meshed together. There was a moment when one person sat below a tree. He then made a big perceptual leap there, experiencing the world, listening and feeling the every detail of what the world is made of. I consider it a personal listening session …I want to create that kind of personal space. “

From a letter to a friend while developing ideas for Thinking Tree

Thinking Tree is an installation that attempts to create a personal listening space.  It consisted of 8 small speakers hanging from the ceiling, which create a small space enough to surround one listener just above her head. Sound playback and real-time manipulation are made by a program written in Max/MSP, which constantly plays and changes sound materials.

There are two additional loudspeakers siting on the floor, located far away from the listener, facing towards the smooth, concrete, walls, which reflect the sound played from these two speakers. This soundscape is differentiated from that created by the eight small speakers hung from the ceiling. Once in a while, the “outer” soundscape invades the personal space of the listener.

The room in which the installation is located has no light, except the two light bulbs also hung from the ceiling and hidden inside the sculpture made of tree branches. I had collected these branches in early January, 2002, in the suburb of Chicago. The light bulbs create an enigmatic shadow of trees. At the end of the strings on which these light bulbs are hung are small motors, which touch the strings once in a while, causing the shadow of the tree to tremble as if wind had caressed it.

The overall experience, the artist hoped to create with the installation, is the uneasiness of the moment in eternity.

Premiered at the Art and Technology Symposium in 2002, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA