Beacon Project

The Impossible Timescale of Trees

by Michael MacLean, Laure Nolte & Andrew Gilmour

The Impossible Timescale of Trees​ is a 5 part narrative that unfolds over the course of a 24-hour period, both online and in amplified reality.

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"The trees have long been trying to reach us. But they speak on frequencies too low for humans to hear." - Richard Powers, ​The Overstory

The Impossible Timescale of Trees​ is a communion with the natural world. In this work, trees share the intimate details of their lives: how they are born, who they live by and with, the stories they tell each other, how they gain sustenance. In this way, this work is inspired by ​The Overstory​ by Richard Powers; A novel in one way about how humans come to the knowledge of trees. The natural world has been speaking to us for time immemorial, but we have lost the skill to hear and listen.

The Impossible Timescale of Trees​ is a five-part story that unfolds over the course of a 24-hour period​: pre-dawn, mid-day, afternoon, evening, and night. In this piece, the trees will ​transmit​, the artists will ​translate​, and the audience will ​receive​. The natural world we share our built environment with helps us to define and locate ourselves within our memories and experiences. The use of an artistic ‘augmented’ reality draws attention to natural perspectives of lived experiences. It offers an opportunity to explore potential futures or speculate narratives from the past from a perspective separate from our own. The ‘augmented’ reality in this work suggests
that there are alternative narratives we aren’t listening to and by illustrating this possibility we hope viewers can begin to perceive these narratives in their own lives.

Transmit
A ginkgo biloba tree on Morris Street lives between slabs of urbanity; Between concrete, bitumen, and surface run-off. The ginkgo is a 270-million-year-old living fossil. If this little tree on Morris Street could speak, what would it say? In the passage and echoes of millions of years, can we make time to hear and listen?

Translate
The little ginkgo shares the intimate details of its ancient life: how it was born, who it lives by and with, the stories it tells other trees, how it gains sustenance. The data collected by the artists from the tree is translated using 3D visualization and modelling technologies to develop an immersive amplified reality experience​.

Receive
The Impossible Timescale of Trees​ gives the ​audience a means of receiving, hearing, and listening to the ginkgo. ​The audience can experience the project in a digital space through a website, and in an amplified reality experience in the city, where the work will be projected against the glass surfaces of​ Dalhousie University’s IDEA Building on Morris Street. In-person, the audience can stand in the presence of the little ginkgo tree while also experiencing the immersive amplified reality projections across the street. The durational ​five-part story means that each time an audience member passes--maybe many times over the course of a day, or maybe only once--the ginkgo will have something new to say; Each time, the information the
audience receives from the ginkgo is slightly different as the passage of millions of years skips, reverberates, and echoes.

Monday, October 12th Saturday, October 17th
6:00 PM until 11:59 PM
Add to Calendar 10/12/2020 6:00 PM 10/17/2020 11:59 PM America/Halifax The Impossible Timescale of Trees

The Impossible Timescale of Trees​ is a 5 part narrative that unfolds over the course of a 24-hour period, both online and in amplified reality.

5247 Morris St
Illuminated Activism Digital Art

Location

Richard Murray Design Building, Dalhousie Sexton Campus (window viewing)

5247 Morris St

Wheelchair accessible - Viewed from the sidewalk, fully accessible