Opening Reception: “trees”

Tune in to the forest with “trees: Downy Oak” and hear from the creators of this surround-sound installation.

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
730 Montgomery St., San Francisco, 94111 United States


July 25, 2012 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-07:00)

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By needling tiny microphones beneath the surface of trees, much is revealed about their physiological processes, and about the forest ecosystem in general. In the exhibition trees: Downy Oak, Marcus Maeder, a researcher at the Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology at the Zurich University of the Arts, and Roman Zweifel, a forest and tree expert at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape, demonstrate the three-dimensional audio matrix they created for data sonification experiments—a walk-in forest alive with sound.

The pair collected sounds from a single type of tree, the Downy Oak, and brought these together with plant measurements in a grid of omnidirectional loudspeakers. The exhibit is not only intriguing for scientists, but also helps the public gain a deeper insight into the inner workings of trees.

Join Maeder and Zweifel for the opening reception of trees: Down Oak at swissnex San Francisco, and hear about the research project that led to the exhibit and the process of creating this artistic soundscape.

Visitors are invited to weigh in on the exhibit on the blog running in tandem with the acoustic show.


6:30 pm  doors open and reception begins
7:30 pm  words of welcome and short presentations by Marcus Maeder and Roman Zweifel
8:00 pm  reception continues
9:30 pm  doors close


Marcus Maeder

Marcus Maeder studied art at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Lucerne, in Switzerland, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in philosophy at the University of Hagen, in Germany. Maeder runs the music label domizil, which he co-founded in 1996 with Bernd Schurer. He has worked as an editor and producer for the Swiss radio station DRS and has been working as a curator and research associate at the Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology since 2005. His artistic work focuses mainly on sound art, and on media art extensions of computer music. Maeder has also written on a number of topics in the fields of sound art and digital media.


Roman Zweifel

Roman Zweifel studied biology at the University of Zurich and at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich), where he received a Ph.D. for his ecophysiological work, “The rhythm of trees.” Zweifel’s research has focused on whole tree gas exchange, mechanisms of water flow and water storage in trees, and using wood anatomy to link water with growth and carbon balance. He is significantly involved in how continuously measured stem radius changes are mechanistically coupled to growth and tree water relations, and his current research activities are focused on linking tree physiological processes with the processes on the forest ecosystem level.


Photo: Myleen Hollero

Event Photos