Another Tree for the Forest

Three mixed-media works for the If a Tree Falls in the Forest exhibition in Grizedale Forest. In collaboration with Krishna Naidoo and with support from Michaela French.

Krishna Naidoo is an astrophysicist and PhD candidate at UCL. Much of his work relies on using complex algorithms to analyse galaxy data to extract hidden information. The intention of these collaborative works was to expose how the algorithms he uses work, to try and demystify complex processes. There is a great deal of algorithm-paranoia in popular culture, but algorithms are simply rules written by humans for computers to follow, and rules can be subverted.

The Sky is a Music Box is a short film created using the same algorithms Krishna uses in his research. As the algorithm systematically assesses the distances between 500 stars above Grizedale Forest, it assigns different musical notes based on their relative positions. The mixture of acoustic and electronic instruments is intended to communicate a sense of collaboration between man and machine.

New Constellations is an accompanying 3D-printed sculpture created from data collected from 100 stars above Grizedale. The intention was to show how algorithms allow scientists to map the stars in new ways to extract new information. While we have a fixed view of the stars from Earth, these algorithms allow for complex 3D models to be built from the stars, which help create new perspectives and understanding of the universe.

Another Tree for the Forest allows visitors to contribute to a non-digital algorithmic artwork. By following a short set of simple rules, visitors helped a new tree to grow from dead twigs on the wall of the exhibition space.