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Forest of Forgotten Shadows 2021

Forest of Forgotten Shadows audio-textile installation uses field recordings of Ash trees, whilst the hand-woven panels depict actual Ash trees on the Dinefwr estate, some of which have been lost to Ash dieback.

Forest of Forgotten ShadowsAinsley Hillard
00:00 / 10:15

Author, Thomas Hardy wrote that one can identify a tree by its 'susurration', the sound of its leaves in the wind. Using recorded audio of air moving through leaves and branches, the soundscape imagines the Ash tree breathing. It builds from a from a gentle breeze that rustles the leaves and flutters the winged fruits or keys, to a wind that whooshes and whips through its domed canopy swishing the leaves in gusts, creating the distinctive hiss of the Ash.

The soundscape includes the uplifting sound of birdsong, trilling and chirping alongside the creeks and groans from the movement of the branches. It reminds us that these graceful trees are alive and awake, a vital part of the wider eco-system, ebbing and flowing through the seasons.

Alongside this life-affirming rhythm, a mournful drone hauntingly resounds through the soundscape, unsettling and disquieting, heralding the unremitting spread of Ash dieback. Its ravages are visible through the wilted, discoloured leaves which shed early, the lesions that develop on the bark and the brittle branches which are left charred and brownish grey.

The hand-woven panels and accompanying sound reflect upon this ghosting of our woodland landscape. These forgotten shadows and silhouettes are echoed in the melancholic resonance, the memory of wind playing amidst once verdant treetops.

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