A record player that plays cross-sections of trees

What are tree rings if not a record? So was the thinking, it seems, behind German artist Bartholomäus Traubeck’s Years installation, which consists of “Modified turntable, computer, vvvv, camera, acrylic glass, veneer, approx. 90x50x50 cm.” Check out the video (also embedded above). Traubeck explains,

A tree’s year rings are analysed for their strength, thickness and rate of growth. This data serves as basis for a generative process that outputs piano music. It is mapped to a scale which is again defined by the overall appearance of the wood (ranging from dark to light and from strong texture to light texture). The foundation for the music is certainly found in the defined ruleset of programming and hardware setup, but the data acquired from every tree interprets this ruleset very differently.

Thanks to Treehugger for the link. I like their conclusion:

Like any great composition, the sounds produced from reading tree-rings are both aesthetically beautiful while at the same time a strangely ethereal glimpse into the otherwise silent life of our planet’s most essential organisms. And likewise, when presented in such a visceral way, it becomes difficult to imagine Earth’s pristine forests as merely places where life can thrive, and not as quiet musicians recording, in their own way, what it means to be alive.

Four days ago, Traubeck uploaded some additional footage:


About Dave Bonta

I live in an Appalachian hollow in the Juniata watershed of central Pennsylvania, and spend a great deal of time walking in the woods. My books of poetry include FAILED STATE: HAIBUN, ICE MOUNTAIN: AN ELEGY, BREAKDOWN: BANJO POEMS, and ODES TO TOOLS.

Posted on February 3, 2012, in Art, Music. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. fascinating… and incredibly creative!

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