In August 2021, Lone Women in Flashes of Wilderness had a call out for sound, poetry, music and words on the subject of ‘If trees were lone women what would they sound like?’ The collective pieces from around the world were to be used in a sound and performance installation at Sanctuary Lab 2021, created by Clare Archibald and Ruaridh Law. The artists described it as –
If trees were lone women what would they sound like’ is an opportunity for those on site to track, trace and immerse themselves in the audio of women from around the world whispering in words, sounds and music from 17 identified trees. In creating a loosely delineated star shaped ‘Lone Women Wood’ this work will produce an ongoing record of answers to the question often asked of women, how do you feel about going into the woods alone, and will facilitate the voices of those who might not otherwise do so, to be heard there.
Combined with the sounds of the forest, those in the space will catch glimpses of desire, calm, joy, fear, myth, reality, hopes and how it might feel if the polyphony of women’s voices were to float free in the air and connect with the environment, and those human and non-human elements within it. – https://www.lonewomeninflashesofwilderness.com/post/call-out-for-you-to-be-heard-in-the-forest-if-trees-were-lone-women-what-would-they-sound-like
I created If a Tree Falls in a Forest for the call out –
My mind has frequently pondered on this philosophical question this past year.
If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound?
Can something exist if there’s no one’s around to listen? Did something actually happen if we do not witness it either by sight, sound or actual presence at the time of the occurrence?
When I was thinking about my track for the Lone Flashes of Women call, I returned to this quote as it feels so relevant. Trees seem so long lived, stable, permanent and the centre of many communities. Without them the earth is devoid of oxygen and beauty. You could say that about women…
Maybe it’s because I’m nearer to sixty than my fifties, maybe it’s because as an older woman I feel increasingly marginalised and invisible from the world around me. Maybe being confronted with my own mortality this past year mean’t I felt that my departure wouldn’t make any difference, maybe it’s the plight of women around the world we see on the news nightly but the connection between how I feel in this world and felled trees seems more pertinent.
If a tree is felled and no one sees or hears it,did it exist?
If a woman is felled and we pay no attention, did she exist?
Maybe it’s a reason for me to continue to create art and music because at least there may be something left behind that proves I existed.
The falling trees in my track are the many women felled and hidden in the world – the voiceless and powerless. Because we don’t see them doesn’t mean they are not there. Because we can’t hear them doesn’t mean they didn’t exist. Like the myriad of trees in a forest, because a tree is felled, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t there.
Due to the pandemic, I was unable to get to this but at least my piece would have been heard by all the beautiful trees.
Honoured to have my piece included in this project. Here is a list of some of the contributors-
Event images copyright Robyn J McLennan 2021