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Recital With a Forest

Recital With a Forest is a site-specific multispecies sound art performance that uses land-based processes involving trees and forests. The Recital is intended to be performed in a tree’d setting, or as an intervention in forest at risk for clear-cutting. The performance includes our hand-made instruments made of contact mics, biosensors, computer software, and land-based materials (cast offs from local trees, found feathers, stones and shells) used in collaboration with the trees. The Ensemble uses techniques of listening and responding through touch interaction with the trees, and interspecies communication to create an immersive sound experience of reciprocity.


During the performance, the Ensemble uses improvisational approaches informed by listening to the emergent soundscape of the location as a score. Because the soundscape is emergent and unpredictable, the Ensemble must actively listen in order to generate sonic responses. For example, listening to a thrush’s song allows one to consider a response that draws attention to the thrush’s beautiful fluid vocals; listening to the sound of wind passing through the trees, invites one to respond in a way that emphasizes the sound of air currents. Listening to the soundscape as a score creates the potential for silent responses, allowing sounds such as a car or a plane to be heard. Sometimes, a pause is needed to emphasize the anthrophonic sounds of a location and how they’re present even in a living forest. This improvisational approach is a sonic weaving of human touch, tree acoustics and forest liveliness—a multispecies creative event.

The Ensemble considers this work as a gesture of care and gratitude for forests.


Performance and exhibition:

  • The Branching Songs Ensemble held a public interventionist performance in The Tuwanek Springs Forest, on May 20, 2023. 

  • The performance was exhibited as a generative media installation in the Sunshine Coast Arts Council June 23-August 13, 2023.

Branching Songs Ensemble:

  • Julie Andreyev, Tree and Lightning Stick instruments 

  • Simon Lysander Overstall, Tree instrument and software programming 

  • Giorgio Magnanensi, Resonators and diffusion

  • Keira Madsen, Tree Voice instrument 

  • Myles V Feltenberger, Looper instrument 


Tree feelers by Julie Andreyev and Lara Felsing

Medicine Wheel Blanket by Lara Felsing

This is a 10 min excerpt from the 60 min performance. The video shows a generative output of the video documentation for installation in a gallery exhibition.

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