Wooden Conversation

This project is installed at Maajaam art space as part of its Wild Bits Residency. The installation will be exhibited as part of the European Capital of Culture festivities taking place in Tartu, Estonia in 2024. The installation consists of a wooden door and frame placed in front of two intertwined trees in a grove on Maajaam’s wooded property. When the door is opened by a visitor, a cord stretching from the door’s interior to the top of the trees will pull the trees ever so slightly together so that they make a creaking noise. This noise will sound like the creak of a door opening, resulting in an act of ventriloquy where the tree makes the sound the door is expected to make when opening. Likewise, whenever the trees sway and creak in the wind, the cord will slacken, resulting in the door opening slightly in a “breathing” motion tuned to the trees’ rhythms.

The sounds of trees creaking and doors squeaking echo each other – the dead wooden product speaking with the voice of the tree and the tree’s voice made recognizable by its similarity to the product’s creak. They animate each other in a conversation transmitted through their shared material essence. Likewise, as the sound of a door opening implies someone present at the door, the work posits that the tree, the door and other wood objects gaze back upon the viewer, particularly when the door is opened by wind without the viewer’s intervention. I hope to dramatize the shared fibers between nature and our built environment, which we tend to separate, so we may better acknowledge our ties to the wild entities seeded into our lives.

Summer 2022

Photos by Fotomorgaana and Footage by Epp Kubu

© 2023 all rights reserved Mohar Kalra.