Sound of the inner tree



sound documentary


Finistere France

Sound Art

9 audio tracks from inside the trees

Can trees hear?

What do they hear?

And what sounds do trees make inside?

What is the role of a tree’s environment, its surroundings? Is the tree in the forest, or is it alone in a meadow or park.


And what do we hear, unlike the tree? Do we hear the same or does the “hearing” of the tree select differently than our hearing?

Some of these questions have already been answered by science.

The bottom line is that it is now proven that plants can hear. And they can respond to what they hear.

I don’t mean the story that when you play them the music of Mozart and the like, they react to it. No, for the plant, our music is simply noise, or just one noise among many.

They respond to something completely different, and that is the sounds of their predators. They can perceive and “understand” them. And they respond to it. With defense, mostly chemical.

There are studies in which you only have to play the feeding sound to the plant and it starts to develop chemical antidotes to drive away the attackers and to warn others.

In my project “Sounds Of The Inner Tree” I use sensors to investigate what the tree actually hears. I try to listen into him.

The data from the sensors is one sound source, the other is the environmental sounds around the tree that I record with microphones.

The result is an auditory image that considers not only the sounds of the environment, but also the sound that goes through the tree, the wood, and affects it in one way or another.

How does this reflect the factor of airborne sound, ambient noise, how much “penetrates” the tree, structure-borne sound, and how far?

Are there any changes in the structure of the wood as a result? Effects on growth or similar?

It is a step to get a little distance from the anthropocentric view and to adopt a different perspective.

In my project I can directly see that there is not only the airborne sound around the tree as a sound source, but also within the tree a rich sound field exists.

Among other things, insects can be heard inhabiting the tree, such as earth bumblebees in the roots. Or caterpillars of beetles that eat through the tree or pupate there. Other inhabitants of the tree, such as birds or small rodents, can also be heard. However, very quiet.

My recordings reveal a little of these inner and outer worlds that plants hear and have. And also some that they make themselves.

The weather, the wind and the sun, play an important role. But also the whole forest, as an environment, as a habitat is an important actor and this ensemble, animals, insects, neighboring plants, among others.

It is a step to get a little distance from the anthropocentric view and to adopt a different perspective.