Adrian Newton

Climate change is currently causing the widespread death of ancient trees, leading to the collapse of forest ecosystems in many different parts of the world. The title refers to the fact that ancient trees capture a record of the passage of time in their growth rings, which provides evidence of how the climate has changed over the past few centuries.

All Trees Are Clocks is a multi-media exhibition featuring the results of recent ecological research, presented together with photography, video, sound art and music.

The research examines the impact of recent environmental change, particularly climate change, on the ancient woodland ecosystems of the New Forest National Park, UK. Evidence indicates that beech woodlands are currently suffering large-scale dieback. Research suggests that such dieback could have significant implications for both wildlife and people. Similar phenomena are increasingly being observed in many other parts of the world, as a result of climate change.


All Trees Are Clocks

The composition features field recordings made throughout the year in beechwoods currently undergoing dieback, in New Forest National Park. The passage of time was marked by the sound of breaking twigs and branches of trees that have recently died. These elements were combined with vocal textures derived from a set of chords with roots moving around the cycle of fifths, representing the cyclical dynamics of woodland ecosystems. Each chord is presented in its root version and in two inversions, with different types of extended chord reflecting the contrasting moods of different seasons. These parts are complemented by an improvised ‘cello performance produced in response to the other sound elements.

The piece was designed to complement an exhibition of still photography and video of ancient woodlands undergoing dieback, presented in Bournemouth, UK, during 2016/17.