Five bonsai trees of various kinds and sizes are placed at equal intervals around the edge of a round conference table. Yellow-green electric wire winds in spirals around their small trunks, the same way young bosais are usually brought into form with heavy wire in plant nurseries. The electrical wires hang like roots over the edge of the table and continue to the floor. The wires are not only a visual element but carry sounds which become audible with a special custom made headphone.
The visitor can listen to the sounds of the single trees while circling around the table. The mix of the five sound chanels blend into each other in accordance to the movement and proximity of the listener to the bonsais. Each bonsai has been given a characteristic sound. The listener hears them whisper, rustle, sing and murmure. All sounds are procecessed from field recordings of nature.
The conference of the trees was created in 1988 during a residence stipend in the former art colony of Worpswede in Northern Germany. It was the period of major training exercizes of the Nato, called “Golden Crown”. Every day supersonic aircrafts passed, with frightening noise, above our residency place. The Golden Crown training distroyed not only landscapes, forests and fields but left oil and other dangerous materials in the ground of the farmers. At that time it was not popular to question or criticize this lind of military maneuvers. The conference of the trees was created as a kind of small counter proposal to the huge fighting machinery and the many conferences which did not care for nature.
The work was first shown1989 at the Kunstverein Kampnagel, Hamburg. In later versions the table also was placed in a dark room and the cables, painted with phosphorescent paint, were illuminated by UV light.
1989 „ars viva“, Kampnagelfabrik Hamburg
1989 „Musik und Raum“, Museum Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt (Version mit UV light)
1989 „Orte der Zeit“, Städtische Galerie am Markt, Schwäbisch Hall
1991 “Artec 91“, Biennale of Nagoya, Nagoya Art Museum (Version mit UV- light)
1991 „Umwandlungen“, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea
2000 „Klang Raum Zeit Licht“, solo exhibition, Opel Villen Rüsselsheim
2009 “Biennale Internationale d’art contemporain de Melle“, Hotel de Menoc, Melle
2014 “Kunst Klang Mensch Baum“, Adria Universität Klagenfurt
2023 “Listening Post – dalle Pratiche di Ascolto alla Sound Art”, Galleria di Piazza San Marco, Venice