you are variations [version ...]

a research series on tree ecosystems as live audio-video environments:
how do changes in climatic conditions modify the water cycle and water availability of trees?


'you are variations [vol. ...]' is a series of research projects on acustic and visual environments
built and fed by ecophysiological and metereological data.

In this series it becomes possible to observe and listen to environmental processes of diverse ecosystems.




with an essay by Dr Harriet Hawkins,
lecturer in Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK



‘you are variations’ is conceived as a set of mobile sound installations, live concerts, and events, which allow comparison
between ecophysiological processes driven by different and changing environmental conditions, and is accompanied by a series
of books providing the background information of this project and documenting its working process. The project experiments
with the interpretation and transposition potential of meteorological and physiological long-term monitoring data into sonic
soundscapes, in a first version concentrating on a one-year water cycle through Pine trees in Swiss dry alpine and wet midland
ecosystems.

According to the contemporary environmental situation the project takes place against a background of serious concern
regarding the trends in climatic change, and correspondingly deals with issues of overall temperature increase, and related
water cycle modifications: changes that unfold in most diverse and yet unknown manners, but that certainly do take place,
unavoidably, globally, as well as in each local microclimate.

Environmental data sets describing soil moisture-, sapflow-, leaf gas exchange and meteorological conditions from two
contrasting long-term monitoring sites are transposed into two soundscape,rendering the differences in water availability
and plant response of pine trees growing at the respective regions sonically comparable:
one long-term monitoring site at the xeric forest plot Visp, Valais, with a continental climate typical of the central alps
getting remarkably dryer in the monitored years, and one from the moist site Vordemwald on the Swiss Plateau.

‘you are variations’ is affected and inspired by these trees. The connection lays in a shared generative impulse.
Its resonations can be seen as attempts to convert distance into intensity, focusing on a qualitative transformation of distance
into immediacy of relation to tree and self. Getting inside the sounds bears the potential to lead you inside these trees,
not for to represent, reflect, or mirror the physical event, but for to become the actual embodiment of the event.


The data sets of ‘you are variations’ were selected on the basis of the long-term monitoring program LWF
and analyzed by experts from the Research Units ‘Forest Dynamics’ and ‘Forest Soils and Biogeochemistry’
of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL.

We study the impact of climate change and management on forest ecosystems.
Focusing on ecosystems' resistance and resilience with respect to biotic and abiotic stressors and disturbances, the unit develops
science-based knowledge to improve concepts for sustainable forest management in a changing environment to ensure
the permanent availability of the large array of forest ecosystem goods and services.
A strength of the unit is the combination of multiple approaches along the method chain consisting of forest
long-term monitoring, high-resolution field measurements, experiments and mechanistic modeling on various
spatial and temporal scales, from the plant cell to landscapes and from seconds to centuries. This combined,
multidisciplinary approach is the basis for an integrated indepth ecosystem analysis.

A particular research focus is the water cycle in trees and forest ecosystems affected by climate change.
The effect of drought on various forest ecosystems is studied on 16 long-term forest ecosystem monitoring
and experimental plots, in a model ecosystem facility consisting of 16 open-top lysimeter chambers,
in a large scale irrigation experiment, several rain-out shelter experiments and field observational studies.

In 2011 Christina Della Giustina is artist in residence in the research unit.
Her artistic practice entails working at the lab’s 16 monitoring sites, gathering, structuring and transposing the measured data on a diagnostical, statistical as well as a real-time level.
Her focus is on water cycles and meteorology and the question of how to render dynamics particular to specific environments publicly accessible and perceivable. Focusing on the ecophysiological processes of trees, she transformes the long-term monitoring data sets from different drought-sensitive forests into sound scores for interactive light-/video-installations and live concerts. As a result the actual ecophysiological processes driven by climate change become locally sensible on-site.

As a catalyst this series of interactive installations and live events enable diverse urban, suburban, and alpine communities
to explore the complex interplay of shifting environmental cycles in this rapidly evolving arena of climate change on global,
as much as on locale scale.


The think-tank within the Research Unit Forest Dynamics
of the Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Birmensdorf, CH
consists of:
Dr. Andreas Rigling, Head Research Unit Forest Dynamics, Swiss Federal Research Institute, WSL
Dr. Marcus Schaub, Head Ecophysiology, Swiss Federal Research Institute, WSL
Prof. Dr. Fritz Schweingruber, Emeritus, Dendroecology, Swiss Federal Research Institute, WSL
Christina Della Giustina, artist in residence at Swiss Federal Research Institute, WSL


research institute:   Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Birmensdorf, CH
  http://www.wsl.ch
  Research Unite Forest Dynamics
  http://www.wsl.ch/fe/walddynamik/index_ENh
think-tank: Dr. Andreas Rigling, Head Research Unit Forest Dynamics, Swiss Federal Research Institute, WSL
  http://www.wsl.ch/info/mitarbeitende/riglinga/index_EN
  Dr. Marcus Schaub, Head Ecophysiology, Swiss Federal Research Institute, WSL
  http://www.wsl.ch/info/mitarbeitende/schaub/index_EN
  Prof. Dr. Fritz Schweingruber, Emeritus, Dendroecology, WSL
  Christina Della Giustina, artist in residence, WSL
organization:   artists-in-labs
  http://artistsinlabs.ch



notes on 'you are variations' [version 01]
notes on 'you are variations' [version 02]


research [books/performances]:
- Pinus sylvestris, 3 books [wood, paper, white gloves; ca. 40 x 40 x 8,5 cm]; December 2011
- Alnus glutinosa, Carpinus betulus, Acer pseudoplatanus, book [wood, paper, white gloves; 40 x 40 x 8,5 cm]; May 2011


installation views and performances in the frame of:

- you are variations [version 01]

- 'libri di_versi', Venice, IT; June - August 2011
Portogruaro and Concordia Sagittaria, Venice, Italy

http://www.notturnidiversi.it

- 'KadS', Amsterdam, NL; Sept. - Oct. 2011
Schinkel-/Sloterkade, Amsterdam, Netherlands

http://kads.nl
http://kads.nl/corp/index.php?itemid=7770&page=514&site=40&ln=nl

- 'off label', Victoria, CA; Oct. - Nov. 2011
digital artweeks: off label, emotional landscaping, Oct. 24 - Nov. 02 2011, Gallery Victoria, Victoria, CA

http://www.digitalartweeks.ethz.ch

- 'you are variations', WSL, Birmensdorf, CH; December 2011


- 'conversation pieces', Academy Gallery, Utrecht, NL; January - February 2012

Academy Gallery, Utrecht, NL


- you are variations [version 02]

- AkkuH, Hengelo, NL; April 22 - June 6 2012


research [audio video / installation views]:
- you are variations [cat+ 02], can I ask you a question?, audio-video documentation, WSL, Birmensdorf, CH; August 2011
- you are variations [version 01], audio documentation, WSL, Birmensdorf, CH; December 2011
- you are variations [version 01], audio-video documentation, WSL, Birmensdorf, CH; December 2011
- you are variations [version 01], live concert [audio documentation], WSL, Birmensdorf, CH; December 2011

- you are variations [cat+ 02], can I ask you a question?, installation views, WSL, Birmensdorf, CH; May 2011
- you are variations [version 01], installation views, WSL, Birmensdorf, CH; December 2011
- you are variations [version 01], Academy Gallery, Utrecht, NL; January - February 2012

- you are variations [version 02], AkkuH, Hengelo, NL; April 22 - June 6 2012



video documentation
part I: soil
part II: plant
part III: atmosphere
part IV: part I - part III played simultaneously [continuum]
AkkuH, Hengelo, NL; April 22 - June 3 2012



audio documentation
part I: soil
part II: plant
part III: atmosphere
part IV: part I - part III played simultaneously [continuum]
AkkuH, Hengelo, NL; April 22 - June 3 2012



publication
AkkuH, Hengelo, NL; April 22 - June 3 2012


with an essay by Dr Harriet Hawkins,
lecturer in Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK