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tread lightly 11min tread lightly 5min

Tread Lightly
An immersive projection installation
translating the language of roots to light and movement NY

Suzy Sureck
with Jenna DeBlasio + Sophia Holland
Performance by Jessica Higgins
See the full spoken word text

Within the forest and embedded in its roots, in a tangle of tendrils, is a sophisticated system of communication, where plants and rhizomes alert each other of dangers or healing water sources. It is not for the survival of the individual but for the betterment of the whole. As we emerge from shifts in our communication and pandemic isolation, this language of interdependence seems more vital. Tread Lightly unfolded as the underworld spoke to us through digital probes, translating data gathered from moss, maple and black walnut roots to sound, color and light which is then activated by a hula hoop. It is a project of reverie and research, sound and image, movement and play, a dance and song within the rhythms of the forest.

Tread Lightly was performed during a night of shooting stars at Rosekill, Kingston NY August 14, 2022. Audiences were invited to experience Tread Lightly from dusk to dark above and within imagery projected onto a 4-meter parachute. The image, a composite of multiple roots, is activated by Jenna DeBlasioís generative data sonification and Sophia Hollandís sensor movement responsive hula hoop. The text, A Language of Tendrils / Dialect of Dust was written and spoken by the Suzy Sureck.

The sound for this project was created using an Arduino measuring the conductivity data of root systems which were then translated into MIDI data via Max8 and Ableton. Small fluctuations in this data are happening constantly as a tree disperses nutrients throughout its roots and branches. Several readings were taken from the same tree and layered on top of each other to simulate a complex network of roots and give us a sense of the inner workings of various trees and moss. The poem, Language of Tendrils / Dialect of Dust was written and recorded by the Suzy Sureck. The imageís color is activated by Sophia Hollandís sensor responsive hula hoop, its movement by Jenna DeBlasioís generative data sonification.

This project is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrants Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by Arts Mid-Hudson.

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