The Ringing Forest

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make asound?"


As I walk through the trees, I turn around and the sound turns with me; the pulsations of the leaves vibrating imperceptibly as they acknowledge my presence. Wandering through the silence wood I become aware of the ringing noise that inhabits inside me… is that an illusion? Is it a real sensation?


I look up to see the canopies swinging gently in a non-scripted dance. Sound is vibration, transmitted to our senses through the complex mechanism of the ear, and recognised as sound only at our nerve centre. The falling of a tree will produce vibration of the air. If there are no ears to hear, there will be no sound. The pulsations of the leaves are imperceptibly vibrating as I come closer to feel my breathing and almost my body trembling in the search of something to happen...wandering through the silence wood I become more aware of the ringing noise that inhabits inside me. Humming, buzzing, ringing, pulsating… is that an illusion? is is a real sensation? Standing in front of the trees, I become more aware of my own body, of those strange sounds produced internally that have been with me for such a long time.


Juan delGado
Istanbul, January 2023


Aerial Rhizome

Taken from the ground, looking up into a canopy of green leaves and dark branches. Blue sky and clouds white on a summer day, can be seen through the gaps in the canopy, some small, some larger. A network of tiny branches fills the image, without a certain beginning or end. They cross, diverge and change direction in search of sunlight. The photograph shows the minuscule part of the existence of something larger and immense, to thus reveal the systematisation of nature.

The Fallen Tree

A fallen tree lies on the cleared forest ground. In the distance the darkness is felt, suggesting a deep, dense forest. Close from us, among the tall grass, individual trunks of numerous silver birch trees can be made out, standing out uniformly upright.


Lifeless but young, the fallen tree is in the foreground. It and the silver-green bark on it have been cut off prematurely. Its mutilated end is exposed in sharp focus and its trunk meanders into the distance. Meanwhile, through the foliage of green vegetation, a tree trunk can be perceived. All that surrounds the fallen tree and fills the image is the dry, brown grass, pale winter in the forest tapestry.

Inverted tree

Huge, the tree of inverted colours: the trunk, icy blue; the leaves, ice white. Behind, in the background, the sky of a dark night. The tree is photographed from below, imposing itself on the viewer with the presence of its central trunk, with its height and the strength that many years of growth entail. But now, it has frozen, in that moment, in that instant. Its slender branches, which creep out in all directions, have stopped in their own tracks, to now stretch out in the air, like icicles or long fingers. They reach the leaves tinged in purple and white, apparently crisp, irregular snow almost completely filling the frame.


The Ringing Forest Movie Description

The film lasts 4 ½ minutes and is looped continuously.

All of the images are taken from forests, to begin with mainly green and brown, branches and leaves. Multiple images are laid over one another, semi-transparent, shifting in and out of focus. Both close-ups and wider shots are used. At one point the individual veins of a leaf can be seen at the same time as an entire branch bearing dozens of leaves. Movements are small, but the picture changes constantly as new images are added and taken away. A moment of calm followed by a rush of activity.

Halfway through the film, the green of summer fades to black, and when the image returns it is all oranges and browns. Small delicate movements indicate the fragility of the forest in autumn. A leaf quivers. A stick shakes back and forth as though it may snap at any moment. A used cocoon, dry and empty, hangs from a branch without purpose. Finally, a lone branch, with a single dead leaf hanging limp from its end. The background slowly turns back to the heavy green of life. The dead leaf fades. Full circle.


This project was supported by the British Council in the scope of the Grant for Creative Collaborations. 


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