Embedded is a composer and creative artist development programme. Pioneered by Sound and Music and funded by The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Embedded places a selection of composers from a range of disciplines into extended relationships with leading national arts organisations.
Artists in Residence with Forestry Commission England, Antoine Bertin and Dawn Scarfe have spent the last 18 months exploring England's forests and developing work in response to these unique environments.
More about the artists
On my first attempts to enter the forest, I was stunned by the beautiful ways in which contemporary woodlands combine spontaneous growing and distant movements with planned and mechanized management.
For me, forests act as a kind of acoustic sponge, soaking up more sound than they produce. Often lacking distinct boundaries, forests are perhaps better understood by the way things traverse them rather than by any inner spirit they might be said to possess.
I had to find my own way through trees and ideas about nature, floating between what I call the [out forest] and the [in forest].
As a sound artist, I have been investigating how I can absorb myself into the forest, searching for opportunities to listen to the human voices, bodies, and ideas that inhabit today's woods. Capturing sounds using parabolic reflectors that I have constructed from material collected from the forests, I am creating compositions from the over-heard and the eaves-dropped, compositions that you will be able to bring with you on your own trips into the forests of England.
I am still in the process of passing through, but by September I will have come out the other side, ready to present the body of work I have developed in collaboration with Forestry Commission England and Sound and Music.
To find out more about Antoine's research visit www.antoinebertin.com/#Embedded
Dawn has explored large areas of England's Public Forest Estate by rambling and sleeping in over 20 forests and woodlands from Kielder in Northumberland to Trinity Hill in Devon. Through these visits she has investigated how listening produces a sense of scale, distance and duration by focusing on different 'voices' dispersed through forests.
Dawn has developed guerilla-style 'Bivvy Broadcasts'. Streaming ambient sound between the hours of 11pm to 7am, listeners are offered a window into the sound of forests at night. Afterwards small segments of the stream (one minute from each hour) are cut together to make an audio 'time-lapse'. The pilot broadcasts have evoked wonderfully emotive responses from listeners tuning in and will now be continued as an ongoing project.
Listen back and find out how to tune.
'Bumble' is an experimental composition for string orchestra. Currently in development the composition will be publicly presented in spring 2014. The tuning of the piece reflects the sound of bumblebees in flight. Through the process of tuning to bees it is possible to get a sense of how fast a bee's wing moves: a G♯ indicates that it is beating just over 200 times per second. Robert Hooke proposed using violins for this purpose in his work on microscopy, detailed in Micrographia, 1665.
Listen to a short extract of Bumble.