PULSE — Experimenta

Searching for

Suggested Terms

PULSE: The Life Force of Trees

Boonwurrung Country
Melbourne, VIC, Australia


PULSE: The Life Force of Trees is a light sculpture whose shifting light and sound scape is driven by environmental data collected while observing significant trees in the Amazon, Panama, Taiwan, India and Australia. The title of this artwork refers to both the electronic activation of the sculpture while also pointing to recent scientific research that identifies sophisticated communication systems within and between trees.

The LEDs at the core of the work are controlled by environmental data collected from each tree’s location. This includes recordings of; soil moisture levels, temperatures, barometric qualities, movement and light. The different trees and their locations provides a broad international perspective, speaking to the interconnections between global ecosystems and the ways they can be represented as a single, living breathing entity. Each of the five studied trees were photographed at a microscopic level. The images were then printed onto the recycled acrylic that encases the sculptural forms. The sonic element of the work was developed through environmental field recordings of the trees and the ecosystems that support them. This includes recordings of the internal sounds of trees and underwater recordings from significant waterways adjacent to some of the studied trees. These juxtaposed recordings form an evocative audio score that transports the audience into the centre of each of these unique landscapes.

PULSE is entwined in the research and discoveries of molecular biology and biotechnology, which has made remarkable steps in revealing the sophistication and interconnectedness of flora, fungi and microbes. The work ruminates on the sentience of trees and, by extension, all flora and other living organisms, asking us to contemplate our relationship to the complex landscape in which we live.

PluginHUMAN gratefully acknowledge the support of the Exertion Games Lab, Monash University, Australia.

The Artist

PluginHUMAN is a multi-award-winning art duo led by Dr Betty Sargeant and Justin Dwyer. PluginHUMAN are at the progressive edge of their field, providing audiences with new cultural, environmental and scientific perspectives.