Plein Air, provides a platform for a structured approach to empathy; the work has evolved through Goto’s PhD study. The project is organized around the intent to reveal and examine the invisible and initiate a critical social imaginary about ethical obligations to other living things as a subset of the process. The sculpture consists of a leaf chamber connected to high quality sensor technology embedded in a traditional painting easel with a laptop computer. The system measures carbon dioxide and the release of humidity from a leaf. Software calculates photosynthesis and transpiration. A sound programme translates data into sound. This sculptural device intends to reveal a tree’s silent response to atmospheric changes.
Over the past four months Chris Malcolm, a computer programmer and sound designer, has started working with Collins and Goto. He has redeveloped the sonic and visual interface for the system. The result is an experience which can be experienced as an evolving composition, but where the key data points are clearly heard. The sound is supported by a creative visual interface that reinforces the relationship between bass tones and specific photosynthesis and transpiration data points.