Artist Bartholomaus Traubeck has custom-built a record player that is able to "play" cross-sectional slices of tree trunks. The result is his artpiece "Years," an audio recording of tree rings being read by a computer and turned into music, much like a record player's needle reads the grooves on an LP. It gives us not only a sense of nature's message, but a perspective on a unique arrangement of sounds that would be impossible to interpret through any other medium.
The tree rings are actually being translated into the language of music, rather than sounding musical in and of themselves.The custom record player takes in data using a PlayStation Eye Camera and a stepper motor attached to its control arm, and relays the data to a computer. A program called Ableton Live then uses it to generate an eerie piano track.
Ancient and indigenous peoples respect Nature as if She were alive; ask Nature for Her permission and advice. These kinds of practices were considered "crazy" but are now on the rebound. It is this kind of thinking outside of Western culture's box that can re-establish dynamic balance and rejuvenate the health of not only trees and plants but also WHOLE ecosystems. Partnership, co-operation, and equality with Nature as a whole and specifically with Her other living beings represent paradigm shifting practices. By peeking into the realms of what we can interpret from mother nature, we open ourselves up to something more.
Though the record player "interprets" rather than actually "playing" the tree trunk, the digitial interpretation still varies with each new piece of wood placed on the turntable, indicating there is enough variance between trees to create unique compositions. To some, each piece sounds a bit like a horror film, and to others there is beauty and a sense of peace.
Josh Richardson is blogger, healer, and a constant pursuer of the natural state of human consciousness.