If a Tree Makes a Sound,

two channel video installation , 2017 

“if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound” a well know philosophical thought experiment aimed at exploring human perception.

The answer can depend on your own understanding of what sound is and the importance of human presence in nature.  Our senses are what defines our lived experience. Our hearing is our own perception of sound. But what of other living organisms in the forest, is their perception of an event not worth our merit. Can the trees perceive sound in a way that we can not perceive? if so does our own perception blind us from this truth? We humans tend to approach the notion of sentience from our own perspective, the dog is happy to be playing fetch, we know this from the wagging of its tail and its barking which we can understand, we can perceive these things through our own senses so we know them to be true. To put it bluntly our own sentience has been our measurement of sentience in other creatures. This presumptive attitude, is blinding us from the truth, of how far we can stretch the meanings of sentience. 

 

If a Tree Makes a Sound is a two channel performance/video installation. On one screen Nicolas William Hughes attempts to mimic the sounds made by a number of different mammals found in Scandinavia and on the other screen he does the same this time attempting to mimic the sound or non-sound of a selection of Scandinavian tree species.

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