Étude no. 3
Third part of a design research dedicated to exploring human-tree relationship.
Etude No. 3 is an attempt in translating the unique voice of the main photosynthesising organ of trees - the leaf. As humans, we mostly regard the sound leaves create through the passive process of mechanical movement, caused by external natural processes, mostly wind and rain. Despite the fact that leaves cannot be heard by human agents, they are far from silent. Through chemical secretion processes and actively reacting to interactions with their environment, leaves communicate with other parts of the tree and neighbouring plants, sharing various types of information.
Beamed with Infrared light, the distinctive pattern of the leaf is revealed using FTIR (Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy), a common spectroscopic technique commonly used by scientists in characterising chemical compositions. Much like each human fingerprint has distinctive features, so do leaves pose a unique singular chemical fingerprint. The process of employing infrared absorption of the various molecular vibrations in a leaf’s composition and translating it through a computational algorithm into a sound distinct to each and every leaf, offers a pathway to regenerate our innate dormant ability to hear nature’s call.
The composition of each leaf is audio-visually presented using a beam of light moving and scanning the leaf’s surface, echoing the sound as it goes. The moving image resembles a forensic examination and archiving of a precious document.
Normalized FTIR spectra of leaf samples - i.e. various leaves chemical fingerprint.