Silent tree activity, like photosynthesis and the absorption and evaporation of water, produces a small voltage in the leaves. In a bid to encourage people to think more carefully about their local tree canopy, sound designer and musician Skooby Laposky has found a way to convert that tree activity into music.
By connecting a solar-powered sensor to the leaves of three local trees in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Laposky was able to measure the micro voltage of all that invisible tree activity, assign a key and note range to the changes in that electric activity, and essentially turn the tree’s everyday biological processes into an ethereal piece of ambient music.
You can check out the tree music yourself by listening to the Hidden Life Radio—Laposky’s art project—which aims to increase awareness of trees in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the city’s disappearing canopy by creating a musical “voice” for the trees.
The project features the musical sounds of three Cambridge trees: a honey locust, a red oak, and an 80-year-old copper beech tree, all located outside the Cambridge Public Library. Each tree has a solar-powered biodata sonification kit installed on one of its branches that measures the tree’s hidden activities and translates it into music.
According to WBUR, between 2009 and 2014, Cambridge was losing about 16.4 acres of canopy annually, which is a huge loss considering that tree canopies are crucial to cities, cooling them down during the summer, reducing air pollutino, sucking up carbon, and providing mental health benefits.
Laposky hopes that people will tune into Hidden Life Radio and spend time listening to the trees whose music occurs in real-time and is affected by the weather. Some days they might be silent, especially when it hasn’t rained for several days and they’re dehydrated. The project will end in November, when the leaves will drop — a “natural cycle for the project to end,” Laposky says, “when there aren’t any leaves to connect to anymore.”
“in a cool solitude of trees
where leaves and birds a music spin,
mind that was weary is at ease,
new rhythms in the soul begin.”
-william kean seymour
source credits: Kristin Toussaint, The Optimist Daily, WBUR Radio
This sculpture was built by the Irish people in their own country to honor the American Choctaw Indian tribe.
They were grateful because the Choctaw people sent money to Ireland
when they learned that Irish people were starving due to the potato famine.
And that is a lesson in how to be a person in this world.
“Generosity is not giving me that which I need more than you do,
but it is giving me that which you need more than I do.”
source: open homes, open hearts u.s., karen waters
Mardi Gras Artists Keeping Joy Alive in New Orleans by Turning Homes into Parade Floats
“Hire a Mardi Gras Artist,” the latest altruistic endeavor from Krewe of Red Beans, is a grassroots effort that aims to transform 40 Orleans Parish homes into Mardi Gras floats, putting laid-off artists back to work and inspiring the city along the way.
The project is the brainchild of artist and float designer Caroline Thomas. The idea for “Hire a Mardi Gras Artist” came to her after several people asked her to decorate their homes. Thinking there might be an opportunity to put the whole industry back to work, Thomas approached Krewe of Red Beans and Feed the Second Line founder Devin De Wulf.
WDIV-TV shares a recently discovered local treasure –
When glass artist Shawn Bungo and his wife moved to Ann Arbor from Knoxville, Tennessee six months ago, they knew moving to a new city during a pandemic would be a challenge. No stranger to community collaboration, Bungo decided to engage with locals through virtual scavenger hunts for small glass works he would hide across town — and they were an overnight hit. He originally started the tradition while going on walks with his dog, Leo, in Knoxville.
“Being a glass artist, you have a lot of pieces that don’t come out, so that’s what started that,” said Bungo. “When I moved up here, after the pandemic started, I started doing that again where I would just go around and randomly hide things and put my card with them — typically in downtown Ann Arbor. I really connected with the community with that.”
On his many walks, Bungo became fascinated with the city’s numerous Little Free Libraries. He shifted his scavenger hunts to showcase the various library boxes around town — which inspired him to relaunch a project he created in Knoxville.
“I just recently put it back up two weeks ago and I shared it with the Ann Arbor Townies group on Facebook,” said Bungo. “As soon as I did that, I almost immediately got people involved in it and it’s been really fun.”
He said he’s received about a dozen miniature paintings and other small items in the 12×12-inch box, some with handwritten notes. “Over the years, I’ve gotten poems, photographs — I’m open to everything,” said Bungo. He said it has served as a fun way to engage with other Ann Arborites during the pandemic.
“With people being so isolated right now, I think it’s the perfect time to do something like this, “ he said. “It allows me to connect with people because we haven’t been able to.” Bungo was supposed to show at the Ann Arbor Art Fair last summer, and with the event being canceled, he felt like he missed out on a true introduction both to Ann Arbor’s art scene and its residents. For now, keep an eye out for his latest adventures with Leo and his front yard gallery. You might just find a tiny treasure — if you look close enough.
story: wdivtv,clickondetroit, meredith bruckner – photos: shawn bungo, bungo glass
“art is too important not to share.”
i am endlessly fascinated by the postings i find on my neighborhood nextdoor site:
the one about the wild turkeys holding a woman at bay in her driveway
then her warning to others, after she escaped unscathed to the car,
as she last saw them headed down the road looking for other victims like a street gang
the one complaining about kids running through his yard instead of staying on the path
the one who reported the tiny pet turtle who ‘ran’ away from her yard
and on and on.
then there was my favorite:
it was a long chat chain that began when someone relocated here from the uk and was looking for a store that sold weet bix. the response/comment section continued on for months, with neighbors offering suggestions of where to find different flavors and sizes of it, who had the best prices, adding in images of artwork made with weet bix, weet bix jokes, weet bix gifs, weet bix logo clothing, balanced towers of weet bix, opinions about weet bix, bowls of weet bix, people sharing their u.k. memories……it was absolutely brilliant, and even included a site administrator who couldn’t take it anymore, trying to wind it up at one point, summarizing it by listing the previously suggested stores, only to have it start up again, people telling her just stop reading it if she was over it, but they were having a ball, leading to it win our ‘best post of the year,’ due to it’s refusal to end, and for the enthusiasm level with which the neighborhood embraced this, rising to the occasion in this ongoing quest to find and celebrate everything weet bix. i loved it. (in the spirit of the chat chain, this may be the longest run-on sentence/paragraph/rambling explanation ever)
happy national neighbor day
“the curiosity of the neighbors about you, is a tribute to your individuality, and you should encourage it. ”
Take the Wooden Money
During the darkest days of the Great Depression, the logging city of Tenino, Washington, created a complimentary wooden currency to help locals survive the economic crisis. Now, almost 90 years later, the town is once again “printing money” on postcard-sized sheets of maple to help locals suffering from financial hardship. Pegged at the rate of real U.S. dollars, the currency can be spent everywhere from grocery stores to gas stations and child care centers, whose owners can later exchange them.
“It worked perfectly,” says Tenino’s mayor Wayne Fournier, who offers residents who demonstrate they are experiencing economic difficulties caused by the pandemic a stipend of up to $300 a month in wooden dollars. These currencies aren’t actual replacements of real money. They are complementary currencies — a broad term for a galaxy of local alternatives to national currencies.
According to research published in Papers in Political Economy in 2018, 3,500 – 4,500 such systems have been recorded in more than 50 countries across the world. Typically they are a localized currency that can only be exchanged among people and businesses within a region, town, or even a single neighborhood. Many are membership programs limited to those who have signed up; they typically work in conjunction with, rather than replacing, the official national currency.
They take many different forms. Relatively few are based on paper money; many are purely digital or exchanged via smart cards. Their goals can span multiple economic, social, and environmental objectives. Some aim to protect local independent businesses. Some promote more equal and sustainable visions of society. Others have been founded in response to economic crises when traditional financial systems have ground to a halt. As the coronavirus pandemic brings on a wave of social and economic tumult, all three challenges appear to be in play at once.
In Tenino, which has a population of less than 2,000, the wooden money is printed using an antique 1890 Chandler & Price letterpress. Since the launch in May, cities from Arizona to Montana and California have been in contact with Tenino for advice about starting their own local currencies.
“We have no idea what is going to happen next in 2020,” adds Fournier. “But cities like ours need to come up with niche ways to be sustainable without relying on the larger world.”
“sharing money is what gives it its value.”
credits: story – Bloomberg City Lab, Peter Young. photo – Jason Redmons, AFP