Headlands Center for the Arts

EDEN3: The Real Time Experiment… Works!

This unedited video shows a process experiment – prior to calibration. It records the development of the ‘voice’ and the first sustained and repeatable real time sonic response to sensor data.

Between August 18 to September 26th, 2008 Goto and Collins assembled nine native trees in an art studio at the Headlands Center for the Arts, in Sausalito, California, as part of the Bridge Residency Project. They focused on various aspects of the project; starting with daily testing of the trees using the physiology equipment. They developed a method to analyze and translate the data into musical notation and sound files. They also developed a sculptural approach to the project. An experimental real time data/sound system was never finalized. They were able to engage Bay Area friends and colleagues in a number of discussions that helped clarify issues of both practice and theory related to the project. See the dialogue section for more detail on those discussions.

Pictures of The Headlands and the studio with trees, friends and colleagues.


Goto and Collins began to develop the sound component of the work collaborating with Matthew Dalgleish who participated from the British Midlands, through Skype. They ran tests on a real time sound system without a productive conclusion. Then went back to real time plant data collection with post processing of music using a system developed by Carola Boehm. (Successful real-time sound would not be resolved until 2009/10).

Research and System Overview

The proximity of our studio to the roadway provided us with ideal conditions to experience the impact of passing automobiles on localized atmospheric conditions and the subsequent reactions of 10 different species of trees that are native to California. This video illustrating a real time experiment was developed with and edited by Nadia Scholnick.


These are a series of ‘tree/sound’ experiments carried out by Goto. Using the sound system developed by Boehm at the University of Wolverhampton; the process in California including extensive notation, choice of specific samples and experiments with sound typologies. Some of the high points are below.


26 August 2008 –  3:45pm
Headlands, CA

The sun was fading and there was no photosynthesis.  The sound is based upon the transpiration data.  Our sound  palette was a human voice. 1 min. 32 sec.




6 September 2008 – 12pm
Headlands, CA
This was an experiment where the sound is based upon transpiration and photosynthesis together.  Our sound palette was composed of larks and crickets. 1 min. 37 sec.



Alder 4 Sep Photosyn


4 September 2008 – 9:55 am
Headlands, CA

This was an experiment where the sound is based upon photosynthesis.  Our sound palette was composed of a harmonica. 7 min. 11 sec.


In addition to the technical and musical components Goto and Collins began to develop and model a ‘plein air easel’ approach to the visual component of that work. This idea emerged after long walks through the hills and valleys of the Headlands to engage specific trees identified by Golden Gate Park Ranger Mia Monroe. This clarified the need for a well designed portable system that would enable the artists to venture into the landscape, as they sought a deeper understanding and relationship with trees.

“As this residency came to a close we found that we had begun to experience and understand trees in a new way. Through success and failure, we began to understand the challenges ahead as we worked to bridge the relational gaps between – you, me and a tree.” REIKOEASEL

A Headlands Center for the Arts Bridge Project residency is offered to artists whose activities have made an impact upon a wide range of organizations and places. Each of the artists selected to participate have made significant contributions in the areas of environmental art and advocacy, cultural identity, or community development, through their chosen disciplines. They demonstrate how visual, written, and performance works are tools for personal transformation, political change, awareness building, and social justice, transcending socioeconomic boundaries to empower communities and give voice to some of the most important issues of our time.

Reiko and the Alder