Trees are the Language of Landscape

Exhibition – April 22 to May 25, 2013
Tent Gallery, in Art Space and Nature
Edinburgh College of Art, Evolution House
University of Edinburgh

The Collins & Goto Studio presents an on-going series of works with trees, including Eden3 an installation of trees and technology that provide an experience of photosynthesis through sound, and Caledonia: The Forest is Moving a series of expeditions and related inquiry about specific forests. The exhibition includes a brief overview of previous work from Pennsylvania and California to provide context for the current creative inquiry.


Collins and goto have lived and worked in the UK for over seven years and in Scotland for the past three years. Until recently they have both been immersed in academia and have both completed PhD’s dealing with art and nature in theory and practice before returning full-time to the studio in 2012.  Collins and Goto believe that the relationship between forests, cities art and culture in Scotland can benefit from rural and urban forms of critical forest- art practice. They are not interested in ‘art in forests’ but rather the idea of art as interface with forests or correspondent to forests with an impact on public ideas, experiences and human values.

Plein Air, provides a platform for a structured approach to empathy; the work has evolved through Goto’s PhD study. The project is organized around the intent to reveal and examine the invisible and initiate a critical social imaginary about ethical obligations to other living things as a subset of the process. The sculpture consists of a leaf chamber connected to high quality sensor technology embedded in a traditional painting easel with a laptop computer. The system measures carbon dioxide and the release of humidity from a leaf. Software calculates photosynthesis and transpiration. A sound programme translates data into sound. This sculptural device intends to reveal a tree’s silent response to atmospheric changes.

Chris Malcolm, a computer programmer and sound designer has redeveloped the sonic and visual interface for the system in 2013. The result can be experienced as an evolving composition, but where the key data points are clearly heard. The sound is supported by a creative visual interface that reinforces the relationship between bass tones and specific photosynthesis and transpiration data points.
Unfortunately the deep bass sound quality achieved with high quality speakers built into the sculpture,  does not come through here.