Forest (for a thousand years); 2012; Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller
This is a 6 minute excerpt from a 28 minute audio installation created for dOCUMENTA (13).
“A remarkable thing about Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s utterly captivating sound installation is how it blurs distinctions between site and art. You enter a clearing in the forest, sit down on a wooden stump, and simply listen. Cardiff and Bures Miller’s work incorporates the actual forest into an audio composition emitted from more than thirty speakers. Sometimes there is a near synchronicity of natural and mediated sounds, and it’s tough to discern what is live and what is recorded.
On a sunny day you hear the rustling breeze, but also the recording of a dramatically escalating wind that sounds intensely real. You sonically register that a storm is approaching, even though your eyes tell you otherwise; when you hear a branch loudly snap overhead (in the recording), you become instantly fearful and flinch. The recorded sounds move in a sphere around you, and you feel as if you’re in the shifting presence of history. There are the sounds of war: whistling screeches, big explosions, the rat-a-tat of machine gun fire. There is a brief but shocking scream, a crashing tree, sounds of a mother and child, clanging metal. Singers come close, but then leave. You hear the trees and the wind again, and the crickets and birds. In turn frightening and deeply touching, ominous and serene, Cardiff and Bures Miller’s forest soundscape is a wonder in the park, and one of the best works in the whole exhibition.”
– description from gregory volk, A Walk in The dOCUMENTA PARK, Art in America, June 15, 2012.