Supplemental Shrubbery Sound Source

The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
May 6 - October 30, 2007





Within Nature
An array of motion sensitive modules is installed along a section of the trail. When someone walks past, the modules emit sounds which supplement the sounds occurring naturally in the environment. The sound samples are arranged along the path in a sequence which proceeds from the most "natural" to the most "man-made". The effect varies depending upon which way one happens to be moving along the path. At the "natural" end, it is not clear whether what one is hearing is part of the installation or part of the (natural) landscape.

In addition to commenting on the relationship between technology and nature, the installation also generates a state of heightened awareness in visitors by sensitizing them to the overall soundscape. Even after moving beyond the instrumented section of the trail, one finds oneself listening more closely and wondering for a moment as to the origin of each sound heard.

The sound generators have been designed as a series sculptural objects which rest in the trees. Their curving wormlike form, vivid green color, and floral speaker/dish terminus constitute a cartoon attempt by technology to fit into the organic surroundings.

Without Nature
A companion installation in the Schuylkill Center's Media Lab repositions the sound samples in the "unnatural" environment of the gallery. A unique user interface allows visitors to navigate rapidly through the samples used to create the outdoor installation's sound field. This accelerated virtual version of the experience contrasts with the feeling of passive discovery which characterizes the exterior incarnation.

About Nature
Central to this installation are questions about what constitutes "natural" and "man-made". Just as man has dramatically modified the environment through the introduction of invasive species and transformed the landscape with technological intervention, this installation will supplement and modify the forest's sound environment, both subtly and dramatically, with invasive and technological additions. The work also references acts of (species) reintroduction and environmental remediation and questions the degree to which man can hope to use technology to undo what technology has done.



Supplemental Shrubbery Sound Source is part of Green Machine, a multi-media exhibition featuring work by Chris Vecchio, Keiko Miyamori, and Katie Murken in partnership with P'unk Avenue. Video documentation has been provided by Vincent Romaniello. Many thanks to Nicole Cousino for introducing me to the use of PVC as a noble sculptural material. Funding for this installation was provided in part by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, The PA Council on the Arts, and the Samuel Fels Fund.

Chris Vecchio
Christopher Vecchio
Physical Computing, Engineerin
g consulting services, electronics for artists,
installation art, engineering and fabrication, circuit bending, 8 bit, 8bit, eight bit,
contemporary art, electronic art, new media, kinetic art, installation art, engineering,
earth works, earthworks, environmental installation, environmental installations,
an orchid in the land of technology, Walter Benjamin, environmental art,site specific installation

"a groundbreaking multimedia project" ;-)
"a ground breaking multimedia project" ;-)