Visitors to Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village can now experience Forest Listening, an audio visual installation by artist Liz K Miller (until 4 October). The installation, sited in the Limnerslease woodland, brings together the sounds of a rainstorm recorded from beneath the forest floor with visualisations of these sounds, presented as a series of blueprints hanging from the trees.
A collaboration between Surrey Hills Arts and Watts Gallery Trust, Forest Listening explores our relationship with trees: can the simple act of listening reignite our interest in these fascinating and complex living beings? Can we re-learn their value and importance as the climate and ecology of the world break down?
During the summer of 2019, Liz K Miller recorded the sound of rain beneath the sandy forest floor at Blackheath Forest, also located in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. From this sonic data, the artist has created a visualisation of these sounds, showing the pitch and volume of the raindrops as they crash into the forest floor.
Forest Listening is the culmination of this project, through which the artist seeks to re-connect humans with our non-human companion species – the trees.
As visitors wander through the woodland at Limnerslease they can listen to the sound file on the Smartify app or via surreyhillsarts.org. A series of cyanotype prints, visually interpreting the rainstorm, indicate listening zones within the woodland.
Commenting, Ellen Love, Community Programme Curator at Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village, said:
“The Limnerslease Woodland, which surrounds the home and studios of the founders of Watts Gallery, George and Mary Watts, acted as a source of inspiration to both artists. The couple named their house and the woodland Limnerslease because ‘Limner’ is the Old English word for artist — and ‘lease’ — to glean hope for the future so it is all the more fitting that artists, like Liz, exhibit work in the woodland.”
Liz K Miller said:
“Limnerslease is a magical woodland. Its winding tracks amongst established undergrowth, leading into beautiful clearings, are perfect for installing Forest Listening. I hope the artwork will emerge like hidden gems from among the trees.”
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