video footage recorded and arranged by annie chiavaroli
audio: processed and arranged by annie chiavaroli, sources listed below with specific contributions from David Williams and Annah Mackay
special thanks to bill young and byron peters
i am undertaking a community-integrated and self-directed course of study that i refer to as "interdependent studies". in it, i am attempting to unlearn white supremacy, imperialism, colonialism, capitalism and especially patriarchal human/individualistic exceptionalism.
i want to learn an unmediated and sensitized attention and to work toward collaboration and sympoesis across "racial", "political" and "ecological" divides.
i think this work has something to do with developing a new kind of "social necessity" or value-system for re-qualifying care and labour and the praxis of relationship building. i think this has a lot to do with listening. and certainly involves equanimity and perseverance in "staying with the trouble" of entanglements of our present time and place, while membering the past.
and finally, interdependent studies at its heart, is a proposal for the deconstruction of my own exceptionalism, privilege and audacity; for liberation of love and labour in order to practice both more widely then i currently know how.
this piece represents where i'm at in the process. its called "UNFALLEN". it is dedicated to those that have been felled and those not fallen. it represents reckoning and highlights resilience.
it is the sound of bodies: the trees themselves and the efforts of their fellers. it features giant redwoods, cedars and douglas firs in mature forests, those in modern industrial plantations such as pine and hemlock and individuals of other species such as maple and poplar. felling technologies include: timber axe, crosscut-saw, mallet and wedge, chainsaw, feller buncher, and helicopter (and their militarized variants). the sound files are from field audio and video footage collected from archives, freesound.org, the world soundscape project, youtube, and first-hand footage provided by friends, with particular attention to individuals, practices and sources relevant to the pacific northwest.
the video footage is gathered from field examinations of the cut surfaces of tree stumps, which is ordered approximately chronologically according to when the tree was felled, with the oldest cuts (perhaps on the order of decades in the past) shown first and the most recent cut surfaces (months old) shown last. i visited cut blocks on vancouver island (near port alberni) and stanley park in vancouver, with a usb microscope (20-250x) to look at the procession from cellulose to multispecies cosmopolitan across time.
on its surface, you can hear and see two kinds of "colonialism" and "development" happening concurrently in this piece. the combined story is an attempt to step outside of the lens and structures of “history” to learn new ways of opening the mind to wider understanding.
this piece is in conversation with its time and place; 2017 in the unceded territories of Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. it is deeply informed by the following: historical and ongoing dispossession of first nations' rights to sovereignty and land; capital, petroleum and industrial revolution; the concept of "nature", the colonial language of ecology and simplifying ecologies (extirpation and endangerment); landscape transformation, climate change; and the specific geographies and technologies within which these sounds were originally heard and recorded. this soundscape delivers us from the time that european newcomers first arrived on turtle island to the present moment, and speaks to the role of resource extraction as an initial driver of and continued means of disenfranchisement and colonial rule; in this case through the lens of logging practices.
this piece also contains the image of life carrying on in the microcosm of felled forests and draws attention to and appreciation for what still stands, ecologically and culturally. the unfallen, the still standing, are teachers of resilience and resurgence.