Active Ingredient: A Conversation Between Trees

13 September – 30 October 2011
Rufford Gallery and Country Park
6 October – 20 October 2011
Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World
14 May – 25 May 2011, 10am – 5pm, closed Mondays
Top Lodge, Fineshade Woods, NN17 3BB
View artwork location on Fermynwoods Art Map

Active Ingredient is a group of artists who work collaboratively to create interactive, playful interventions that merge art, science and technology, to explore the world around us.

As part of a year long project, Active Ingredient had been creating a link between trees in Fineshade Woods and the Mata Atlantica forest at the edge of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. They used environmental sensors connected to mobile phones placed in the trees to uncover the traces of a conversation between the trees and the results of our presence in the forests.

Each day, the story of the forests was revealed through a set of clues, generated through a series of data readings, recording the temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, decibel and light levels. This data was then fed into a computer programme, which creates a visual form of the data, so that visitors would literally see the dialogue taking place between the trees. The artists had also created a kinetic sculpture that would respond to the changes in data being received.

The artists described this project as “an experience that takes the audience into an augmented forest, using a mobile phone as a lens to reveal that which we cannot see in the forest. The journey then takes us into a space where a climate machine interprets the scientific data collected from both trees, in the UK and Brazil“.

Visitors to the exhibition with Android phones had been able install the application on their phones with the help of the Artists or borrowed a phone from the venue during the exhibition on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays (a form of identification was to be required).

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