Heartwood is a sound art composition, featuring the internal sounds of ash trees. The piece was developed to celebrate ash trees as living, dynamic organisms, of high cultural and ecological value. The piece also aims to increase awareness of what we are in the process of losing because of ash dieback disease. Recordings were made of ash trees growing in different parts of Dorset, using a variety of different contact microphones and other sensors, to create a soundscape of the heartwood.
The piece was originally developed as a commission for the Inside Out Festival in Dorset, 2014, but was presented again in 2017 as part of the Springhead Ashscape Conference, an international meeting held in Dorset dedicated to ash trees. On this occasion the composition was combined with live sounds made by a mature ash tree, and broadcast via radio headphones. The procession route to the tree was configured to represent the runic symbol for ash.
For A Dorset Wanderland, the installation would be associated with one of the ash trees growing in the woodland near Durlston Country Park, to enable visitors to listen to the interior sounds of the tree.
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