Tree Sing is an evolving work by Tina Pearson that imagines a kind of intimate communion of reciprocity with trees. Its original vision is one or more performers of voice and/or movement, each in close proximity with a single tree in a forest, forming human-tree duos. Each human performer is gently wrapped head to toe in unbleached soft fabric, with their back to their tree, the vocalists with their mouths uncovered, the movement artists with their arms and lower legs loosely free. A further vision takes these performers, as agents of the trees, to an open gallery setting, where they are bound to the walls of the gallery, similarly wrapped, performing the memory of their tree communion.
The focus in any rendering of Tree Sing is on the tree(s) and how they look, feel, sound, smell … their aura, shape, dampness, dryness, what they carry, how they move from the deep inside to the outer expressions of wind in their leaves or needles. The approach is one of receptivity, request and curiosity.
Tree Sing at MediaNet Victoria 2016
In 2016, a process of realizing Tree Sing began through listening practice, research and soundwalking in the forest surrounding PKOLS Mountain, in the territory of the Lekwungen-speaking and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples (Saanich BC, on the Salish Sea, Pacific West Coast). This led to the making of a text score. The score is divided into six main sections, with sub-sections that suggest particular focuses of attention and inquiry relating to information about trees gleaned from biology, ecology, myth and memory. The specific interpretation of each section is determined by genre and agreement with the artists.
Next, immersive sessions guided by the score occurred in the PKOLS forest with Pearson (voice), dancer Lori Hamar, photographer and videographer Kirk Schwartz and photographer Lyssa Pearson. Videos (at 5x slow speed) were made of Pearson’s and Hamar’s ritualistic entry, wrapping, and performing the score. Audio recordings of Pearson’s vocalizing were analyzed, and textures, transitions and expressions were re-performed and recorded in the studio. From this video and audio material, a video was made for installation as an element of Pearson’s Absorb project, commissioned by MediaNet for installation in their Flux Gallery in Victoria October, 2016.
Tree Sing at Saguenay Québec 2019
During a creative residency at Centre d’Experimentation Musicale (CEM) in Saguenay, Tina Pearson worked with an ensemble of 7 women performers to create a new concert length production, Wind Bone Wood Stone for live performance. As part of this work, and using the Tree Sing text score, vocalists Sara Létourneau and Caroline Tremblay, and dancer Mya Lalancette worked with Pearson in a local forest to develop Tree Sing for a prelude performed by Létourneau and Lalancette with trees at the entry to the rural performance venue.