treelab @ STARTS Prize Exhibitions

treelab at BOZAR, Brussels

Ars Electronica Festival 2017, Linz 07. – 11.09. 2017
BOZAR Electronic Arts Festival, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles 14.09. – 30.09.2017

More informations here.

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AmazonFACE: Ocotea

Installation at the Inter-American Development Bank, Washington DC,
AmazonFACE symposium – Impacts of Climate Change on the Amazon Forest

AmazonFACE: Ocotea
An artistic-acoustic observatory

AmazonFACE is a free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiment assessing the effects of increased atmospheric CO2 on the ecology and resilience of the Amazon forest. The experiment will simulate the atmospheric CO2 composition of the future in order to help answer the question: How will rising atmospheric CO2 affect the resilience of the Amazon forest, the biodiversity it harbors, and the ecosystem services it provides?

In the installation “AmazonFACE: Ocotea”, a local ecosystem in the Amazon rainforest is represented acoustically. The acoustic emissions of a tree (Ocotea Sp.) and the environmental sounds in the field station of the AmazonFACE research project were recorded in 10-minute intervals over three days. The sounds of the tree and its inhabitants were recorded using specially developed contact microphones at three positions – in the crown, on the trunk, and at the roots. These sounds can be heard through the sound panels of the installation (in the module to the right of the projection surface), together with the environmental noises (through the video projection surface itself) and the sonification of the CO2 concentration at three heights in the forest (through the module behind the projection surface). In the sonification, the CO2 data flow is used to control the generation of sound in the installation’s computer. A flute-like synthetic sound is used in “AmazonFACE: Ocotea” for data sonification: this is reproduced for each of the three measurement heights, and the current measured values control the pitch of the three flute-like sounds. By these means the dynamics of the CO2 concentration at three different “storeys” in the rainforest are rendered audible.

Our artistic-acoustic observatory is a prototype for a larger installation, in which changes to the soundscape of the rainforest will be analysed at an increased CO2 content in the atmosphere. Here, new acoustic research methods of biodiversity will be tested. The so-called Acoustic Complexity Index ACI is displayed in the video projection. In this acoustic estimate of biodiversity, the amplitude envelope is being analysed in a number of frequency bands: the greater the number of different volumes measured over a certain amount of time in specified frequency bands of the audio recordings, the higher the acoustically quantifiable biodiversity – what interests us here is the dynamic of this value over short and long time periods.

The installation “AmazonFACE: Ocotea” aims to make the processes in a local ecosystem audible and acoustically examinable: the noises in the tree and its immediate environment change, depending on the time of day and the weather, the CO2 values increase or decrease on the different “storeys” in the forest, and it becomes possible to experience sensually the close connection between environmental conditions and life processes in the rainforest.

Concept and artistic design: Marcus Maeder, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste ZHdK, 2017
Preparation of environmental data: Alessandro Araujo, Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (Embrapa)
Implementation ACI: Martin Neukom, ZHdK
Programming support : Thomas Peter, Philippe Kocher, ZHdK
Production support sound panels: Thomas Tobler, ZHdK

This pre-study is financed by the ZHdK foundation and AmazonFACE.

Screenshot of the video projection.

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STARTS Prize 2017: Honorary Mention for ‘trees’

Treelab

STARTS is a prize of the European Commission honoring Innovation in Technology, Industry and Society stimulated by the Arts. The prize is awarded at the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz (A).

“Science, technology and arts (STARTS for short) limn a nexus at which insightful observers have identified extraordinarily high potential for innovation. And innovation is precisely what’s called for if we’re to master the social, ecological and economic challenges that Europe will be facing in the near future. In this STARTS Prize initiative, the European Commission’s focus is on projects and people that can make meaningful contributions to this effort.

Here, art is assigned the role of catalyst that propagates scientific and technological knowledge and skills among the general public and triggers innovative processes. Accordingly, STARTS is emphasizing, on one hand, artistic works that influence or change the way we look at technology, and, on the other hand, very promising forms of collaboration between the private sector and the world of art and culture. A prizewinning project will be singled out for recognition in both categories.”(quoted from the STARTS site)

We’re very proud!

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Out now: Kunst, Wissenschaft, Natur (Art, Science and Nature)

The book is in German.

Marcus Maeder (Hg.)
Kunst, Wissenschaft, Natur
Zur Ästhetik und Epistemologie der künstlerisch-wissenschaftlichen Naturbeobachtung

Künste und Wissenschaften sind sich näher gekommen – besonders in ihrer Verwendung von Medientechnologien und im Einsatz von ästhetischen Praktiken. Doch wissenschaftliche Erkenntnisse sehen sich nicht nur in ihrer Vermittlung mit ästhetischen Fragen konfrontiert, sondern bereits in der Erforschung eines Gegenstands. Die Künste ihrerseits haben sich in jüngeren Disziplinen wie der Bio- oder Eco-Art auf die Naturwissenschaften zu bewegt. Die Beiträger_innen des Bandes untersuchen die erkenntnistheoretischen und ästhetischen Bedingungen, Möglichkeiten und Probleme, die sich zeigen, wenn Kunst und Wissenschaft in Kooperation treten und neue Wahrnehmungsformen der Natur schaffen.

Mit Beiträgen von Marcus Maeder, Jeanine Reutemann, Hannes Rickli, Andreas Rigling und Yvonne Volkart.

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New collaboration with AmazonFACE

AmazonFACE
Assessing the effects of increased CO2 on the resilience oft he Amazon Forest

AmazonFACE is a free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiment assessing the effects of increased atmospheric CO2 on the ecology and resilience of the Amazon forest. The experiment will simulate the atmospheric CO2 composition of the future in order to help answer the question: How will rising atmospheric CO2 affect the resilience of the Amazon forest, the biodiversity it harbors, and the ecosystem services it provides?

AmazonFACE extended by Acoustic Ecology and Artistic Research

In this collaborative preliminary study of AmazonFACE and the Zurich University of the Arts ZHdK, we examine the possibilities of acoustic and artistic methods to contribute to the research on the effects of increased CO2 on the ecology and resilience of the Amazon Forest. We will adapt the acoustic recording technology developed by the ICST to an AmazonFACE measurement plot, record the acoustic events in the soil-plant-atmosphere system and combine these recordings with data sonifications (a transformation of data streams into sound and music) of ecological measurement data from the site, seeking for correlations between the recorded sounds and the measured effects of an increased CO2 input into a local ecosystem. The main goal here is to render effects of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere on a local ecosystem artistically perceptible and examinable and to communicate in a new way scientific findings as broad as possible.

A first prototype of the sound installation playing the recordings from the Amazon forest will be presented on 7/8 June 2017 at the Inter-American Development Bank Headquarters as well as at the Brazilian Embassy in Washington.

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Preview: Acoustic Ecology Excursion 2017

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Sounding soils – sounding insects

New recording lab at WSL.

New recording lab at WSL.

Sounding insects: Cricket parade at the WSL lab

Sounding insects: Cricket parade at the WSL lab

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New publication: Journal for Artistic Research

trees: Pinus sylvestris

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Recording different soil types in Valais

Recordings on a mossy forest soil

Recordings on a mossy forest soil

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New project: Sounding Soil

Measurement site at the LWF demo site at WSL Birmensdorf

Measurement site at the LWF demo site at WSL Birmensdorf

Soils mostly present themselves to us as a diverse surface, the interior of which remains hidden from us. If one likes to investigate the life and the physical structures and the processes present in a soil, then it is necessary to dig it up in order to take samples or insert sensors – and this normally disturbs the soil. However, is it also possible to investigate and describe the biodiversity and composition of a soil in an acoustic manner thereby not disturbing it? And: how do different kinds of soils sound, what organisms make noises or even make use of the soil as an acoustic communication medium? Can one hear how water penetrates the soil or gases evaporate? How can the “soil soundscape” be scientifically and artistically revealed?

Healthy soils are of key importance for the future of mankind. Sustainably managed soils enhance the resilience of agricultural systems, are better able to adapt to changing climatic conditions, while also contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by storing carbon. As soils are one of the foundations of all life in the world, it is therefore absolutely vital that they remain intact – this is also our motivation with this scientific-artistic contribution to make it possible to experience and perceive the soil ecosystem in order to raise social awareness of soils.

Acoustic and soil water potential measurements compared

Acoustic and soil water potential measurements compared

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