Sound-Sculpture commission for Golygfa Gwydyr
Susurrate (Latin): a murmur or whisper of leaves, wind etc.
The piece works with the shapes of the woodland to create a reflective space. Resonant metal bars are suspended from various trees and branches sonically and visually amplifying the apparent characteristics of each.
With the notes being suspended from the trees, the branches dictate something of the visual shape. Thus the impression of a majestic or skeletal specimen becomes heightened.
This is exaggerated by the notes used. In the case of a gnarled tree, if the notes used create something bright, a high pitched and major sound; it all of a sudden feels like a cheerful plucky little tree. Whereas if darker diminished tones were chosen the atmosphere and presence feel more menacing.
By itself the sculpture is largely silent, requiring a strong gust or outside intervention to create a sound. Instead, it remains quiet, highlighting the shapes of the canopy in an alien, almost ritualistic way.
On exploring the space members of the public can find beaters secured in place with which to tap the bars and bring the space to life. If audience members want to hear more than one tree at once in the space then they will have to cooperate and play as an ensemble due to the distances involved.
Each tree has a specific chord cluster, the sounds and appearance of which reflect the artists’ response to working with that particular organism. Some are sunlit and beautiful, others are brooding or foreboding, and everywhere in between.
The work is as much about music as the potential for sound. It is about heightening awareness of the environment, the magnification of space and listening and the pockets of existence between, before and after notes.
The work will be on display in Golygfa Gwydyr Llanrwst from 7th August throughout the Eisteddfod week and for longer if nature permits.