Virtual Reality art, 2019
Tree Earth Sky is a VR experience that invites visitors to look and listen to an old-growth grove of trees. Old-growth forests are a living network of trees, plants, animals, below ground fungi and other lifeforms. These forest residents depend on one another, providing each other with water and nutrients. Humans also depend on intact forests and old trees who remove carbon from the atmosphere, contribute to precipitation, moderate weather for inland ecosystems, support our watersheds, and are wonderful to behold. The intention of Tree Earth Sky is to raise public awareness about these ancient beings and their complex ecosystems, with the hope to save the remaining stands in our region.
Tree Earth Sky can be viewed on your own headset using the YouTube link above, or it can be exhibited in a gallery. For example, the project was exhibited at Science World BC and visitors could sit on cedar logs prepared by an indigenous artist, put on the VR headset, and experience an immersive depiction of wild soils and the forest world (read about the production of Tree Earth Sky here). They could hear the rustling of tree roots, see the carbon and water cycle of the mycorrhiza network where plants and fungi cooperate in this community (read about the sound recording process here). The VR also presents the above ground world of the forest where visitors can see a mother tree — an ancient Douglas fir — and the surrounding plant communities, and hear the calls of loons who inhabit the lake nearby.