Talking Trees

Talking Trees is a new, interactive outdoor sound installation currently in development. Created by composers Harvey Sollberger and Brooke Joyce, Talking Trees will debut at Seed Savers Exchange in May 2013. Read the following posts to learn more about this exciting new public artwork in northeast Iowa!

Talking Trees at Luther


After a two month hiatus, Talking Trees is back for public viewing/listening on the Luther College campus, near the library lawn. On Friday, August 23, with the aid of a student worker and Harvey, we set up three of the four tripods that were built for the Seed Savers installation. New sounds from the Luther campus were recorded earlier in the month, so the piece has a very different sound and feel. The tripods are also much closer together, so one can hear the sounds overlapping in various ways. The... Read The Rest →

Iowa Arts Showcase/Talking Trees at Luther


After a hiatus in June, I’ve been busily rehabilitating Talking Trees in preparation for a new location. Starting August 26, the piece will be installed on the quad at Luther College, where it will remain through September 23. Heavy rains in late June led to flooding at Seed Savers. Three of the tripods suffered damage to the electronics, though the structures were unharmed. I replaced about $200 worth of equipment, did some re-soldering and lots of testing. All seems to be in good shape. To help spread the word about... Read The Rest →

Talking Trees at Seed Savers Extended


Due to a mix of weather and scheduling, Talking Trees will remain at Seed Savers for the month of June, so anyone who was unable to see it in May will have 30 more chances. It will reappear at Luther College for two weeks at the end of August. We finally got the guest book in a public location (at the first tripod), so hopefully, we’ll get some feedback and reflections. Every time I’ve been out to Seed Savers this week, I’ve encountered several hikers, enjoying the trail and listening... Read The Rest →

Media coverage

talking trees demo

There has been some nice coverage of “Talking Trees” in the media–here is one feature story from the Cedar Rapids Gazette: During the interview with Diana, we ran into Andy Hageman and students in his “Literature and Ecology” seminar at Luther.

Installation and opening day

Snowy Tripod

With the aid of Harvey and two Luther luther students (Kim and Neil), we set out on Sunday, April 28 to Seed Savers in hopes of completing the installation that afternoon. Several things conspired against us: 1) we forgot to load some of the metal parts and had to wait until 5:00 to get them2) our truck (not 4-wheel drive, as we discovered) got stuck in the mud 3) threading the wires through the metal legs took much longer than we anticipated After about 2.5 hours, we were able to... Read The Rest →

First tripod, first audience

Talking Trees at Good Shepherd

April 15 was an important day for “Talking Trees:” we erected one tripod, complete with electronics, battery and solar panel; we took our first photos of the finished structure; and we had our first audience experience the installation outdoors, with the full complement of four speakers. The single tripod will be operational, in the backyard of Good Shepherd church in Decorah, through next Monday. It is timed to operate from 8 am to 8 pm. It is currently playing the “water” segment of the installation; I’ll change the segments during... Read The Rest →

It’s not a bomb…

…but it sure looks like one! Here is an almost-completed ammo can, with electronic components mounted and wired. The parts are labelled for easier identification. After wiring everything together a few days ago, Bruce and I discovered a nasty ground loop. We are currently working on getting that annoying problem neutralized. Monday (as in, three days from now), we will erect one tripod, complete with battery, electronics and speakers, and run it for one week behind Good Shepherd church in Decorah. The main goal is to see how the battery... Read The Rest →

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