Jan 03/Apr 09 LeifBRUSH treeharps networking, windribbon, selfbroadcasting trees, terrestrial whistlers, interactive TRAM, raindropings passaroundsound Hoor de bomen

>>A rectalinear one acre site was edged with an enormous variety of trees, shrubs, several gardens and- later on, bird feeding sculptures. This context hosted multiple Terrain Instrument constructions whose functions were to monitor terrestrial phenomena. Rain, snow, wind-stirred trees-and roots- and could be amplified for listening to on site. All were solar-powered and self broadcasting using transmissions by modulated He-Ne laser or limited range FM transmitters. In either mode, sounding collections could be received inside a nearby basement receiving/recording room.

windribbon is top of two strands shown below

views of the North side of Permanent Terrain Instruments space showing windribbon (widest brass of the two shown) and treeharps networking details below

Conceptually, I wanted to simultaneously hear all of the installed Terrain Instruments at any given time. I accomplished isolated analog recordings. The images on these pages are but specifics as well and document portions of the original Permanent Forest Terrain Instrument's whole. Not being able to do this in realtime was disappointing; however, using an NEA Development Grant funded Nagra 4.2 reel-to-reel recorder, I accomplished many full track, 15 I.P.S. analog recordings of all Terrain Instruments. Video recordings by others and myself were also completed. On this page was the site from which satellite performances originated- featuring the oldest "major" Birch tree. As realtime on-call resources or remotely controlled rain drops triggering on/offs of any TI, all were capable of being telephone-controlled via keypad, where specific Instruments could be called up and/or activated throughout the 2-way satellite interactivities. Some of which were satellite relayed through equalized 600 Ohm telephone wires. Or. Uplinked from KSJN for Westar 5 downlinking. The modulated laser sound inputs were translated by a Radiometer for mixed uses.


Leif Bürste 1975ns windribbon (c) WINDRIBBONING & THUNDER BURSTS


Above and below V.1 is shown in two connected but different locales. Hefty turnbuckles hold the pair via a U-shaped steel rod: below image- windribbon is paired with a 9 gauge galvanized steel strand... windribbon is at back back with e 9 gauge strand faceing outward...each monitored wind and torsional tree movements...

(detail of an additional Shadow piezo sensor -bottom view of WINDRIBBON-attached w/beeswax to the WINDRIBBON near a mid position )

earlier view of Major Birch

full size of original

a five inch wide band of 1/8" stainless steel shown below-in a flash photograph by Gloria Brush- was bolted to a solid metal and rubber-lined clamp on this Birch, providing an elongated sounding (1 min.+ reverb) then occurring from either wind gusts, snow a/or rain drops and, were being monitored from three taut (w/turnbuckles) holding piano wire gauges: 16, 22, 24; resulting pitches were subjected to bends by opposing trees

Coming off a pair of trunbuckles as seen from below... all strands are anchored to another distant birch tree. For the duration of its sounding life ('75-'86), this tree was referred to a Major Birch. It served as the main anchor for combinations of multiple strand configurations and served also as the anchoring live flagship-soundsource during realtime and interactive Westar satellite (and for teleconstruct spaceworks) projects. The tree succumbed to bronze birch borer disease in 1988 several years after a nearby tree fell and brought down this v.1. The vertical aluminum tube in the 2nd top image was (part of the terrestrial whistler(s) and was physically attached to the 9 gauge strand which parallels the windribbon.. (Producing combind hums and whistles from the same wind gusts).

DETAIl: pair of turnbuckles grasped and held the windribbon taut. Tied down and wrapped outward onto the first inches(this shared the tension at the crutial point) also you can see an additional 9 gauge steel strand which ran parallel.

Two views of the junction box

VIEW of surviving base of the wind-toppled Major Birch showing the now disconnected and severed fat blue cables shown in both pictures carried the amped and line-level output into a nearby basement soundroom. Sensor inputs are the three RCA females dangling from the bottom (with one still attached). A nearby solar panel supplied the DC for the preamp and amp outs.

An FM transmitter (in this photo of a VHS box is tie-wrapped to tertiary limb) and allowed for nearby FM radios to overhear sound collections from this listeningsource. FM radios on nearby London Road were able to tune into the Major birch throughout its electronic activation.

LB1980- The SOUND ROOM saccepted inputs onthrough to the inside mixer/console below from outdoor Terrain Instruments which were equipped with solar powered pre-amplifiers and sensors; from the Windribbon, for example, which was stretched between an opposite birch 200 feet to the northwest and attached the Major Birch location as shown below. a-fr/top left: all sound input cabling, computer DSPing, recording to HD, etc., input mixers and amplifiers of the sounds to all speakers on ceiling, all walls and floor;a1- 1980 & 1990s view b-one of four analog reel to reel tape recorders c-detail of the main mixdown deck which could handle those collected/assembled outdoor sounds imixed-down to six required channel for the main mixer channels (c,) which had quad outputs that could be used for telco (satellite uplink, FM transmission, or to any recorder) d-detail of speakers beneath the false floor

Sanna Brush shows her drawinga-4track recorder outputs to floor, etca1-


UTC & f r e q u e n c y c l o c k

... .mov mainly windribbon, with leaf and limd strikes combined with 9 gauge wire, thunder, vocalized humming, whistling, footsteps, leaves, squirrels, birds, other Terrain Instruments: Draft Monitor .mp4 recap 1987 windribboning 68dragged Maple leaf


Switch here:to see a sketch of WR V2.4 03-04 proposal to replace the original strands above). return home


Justin Bennett's sound walk (or by bicycle) performance Saturday 25 July 2009 00:00 hours for Vario Mundo (foundation for art and culture in Vathorst the Netherlands) began at this tree identified as I-centrum in Vathorst. Freeze frame: trunk-belted sensor provided tree monitoring by headphoned Justin. His perfomances continue and are sustained through his webpages and by regular workshops (some Details - w/tree soundings & mollie tree sprial sensor belt). Justin's CV.


UMD Assistant Professor, sculpture & 3D Studies, Fall quarter 1975

& new faculty article; Fellowship




 Each of the trees shown below had similar hardware:

 1-different parabolic dish with an installed SHURE 635 mic

  2-SHADOW sensors (beeswaxed on a tertiary limb and a stainless steel probe at the base

   2-dual channel FM transmitters. ((could be heard w/in a 1/2 mia area))

additionally, the Doug Fir-below- experimented using actual audio between two similar parabolic dishes- the top silver one )

6-DC/FM radio receivers shared these line inputs-via a basement sound room- into a pair of SHURE M67 mono mixers and output was cabled to a 3rd dual FM transmitter located atop the roof chimney.
NOTE: there are quite a few vacant and quiet holes on the FM band in Duluth Minnesota USA)

The Douglas Fir (l) and Birch sounded like regular trees when wind-stirred. In each the trees primary, secondary and tertiary limbs a/or branches and the main trunks were monitored. Trees acted like an antenna because of grounding faults in the pre-amps (hum, accompanied by rf and internal vibrations The fir allowed me to hear German and French broadcasts. Right image: The combination solar panel, pigtail antenna and FM transmitter face southward, Left image: Solar panel, sensor, coupled pre & amplifuers and a plastic inch dia. speaker was aimed at the focal point of this minature parabola. The Fir's upper silver parabola handles and reflects a volume-controlled low level 1 inch speaker-level volume aimed at the center focal point of the dish. It directs, pushing (focusing) sound waves through the air- out from this dish- in a line-of-sight, over our house to another tree in the distance, where a similar parabola receives it. It is at this point that monitoring takes place using headphones. Ongoing hearing at this point from the active "line" in transit toward the opposite parabola, transmissions are in a state of flux and subject to wind and any occurring events presently moving into or through this "line." Additionally, the Fir trees amplified vibrations via shielded audio cable (seen above moving L. from the orange dot)) are being broadcast. realtime. return home




views of the same treeharp showing sandwiched pine sounding boards at the base w/ its pairs of multi-gauged galvanized steel strands reaching upwards (b&w photograph by Gary Mortenson) and a single foot square block at the top w/its outward-splayed single planes

strands heading out & up fr/above treeharps sounding-block base

contextual vantage

Signal Disc sound during rain struck by and sliding leaves

signal discs & windribbon (very top r to l) windribbon (very top,left)

view Signal Disc v3.1


occupied an adjoining Signal Discs & treeharps space


Seamas Cain practices with his multil-string Gustle instrument while listening to the wind gust murmers occurring from nearby whistlers.terrestrial whistlers, aluminum; copper tubes hanging at top

Participants in Teleconstructs Spacework I

LB stands in front of the terrestrial Whistlers base; cabling carried soundings from this entire Instrument including those varieties directly over his head as seen in the color side view below of the entire Instruments


steady murners & low wind rumbles, wind turbulence, Aspen tree pair resonating wihtin tubes

Standing w/earphones near the Whistlers pine sounding block I could hear the douglas fir tree's wind-stirred moans from a different amplified line allthewhile moving-and-touching my stethoscopic-like sensor among six isolated copper and aluminum tubes. I could also easily hear the hardware resonating (whistling) during gusts.

terrestrial WHISTLERS context views

(20 foot aluminum tubes & 4 copper and aluminum tubes hang imediately above; cabling overhead were the preamped mixes of all the Shadow sensors at this TreeHarpsNet location fed to a nearby recording room.) Signal Disc is in center background.

context terrestrial Whistlers detail


These 20 foot-long, two inch aluminum tubes were anchored to a pine sounding block (center), and other smaller tubes of copper and aluminum sort of-paralled the v-angled guying cables (l&r). A siliconed Shadow sensor was attached to the sounding block midway on this pine wood block. (A single SHURE 635A mic can be seen dangling in the top right; 200 Shadow sensors were given to me in the mid 80s by the Erlangen, Germany manufacturer and about a dozen have survived into 2001 from problems w/vandals, squirrels and natural disasters.) Blue foreground cabling carried the sounds from the Treeharps to a nearby sound room.

LB faceing sounding block of terrestrial Whistlers--- DETAIL of aluminum tube w/rusted metal "pigtail" at the end...2 wood sensors are shown (atop tube), beneath pigtail... both are attached with beeswax (((x-part beeswax, y-part motor oil))


vibration sensor (left); end-to-end different gauged aluminum tubes w/their pig tails of wire of coiled wire strands gave a ringing to the wind whistling onthrough the holes

LEFT a main overhead guy wire held a variety of aluminum tubes ranging in size fro 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches and these were suspended with 50 pound fishing tackle; RIGHT detail of pigtails attached to some on the whistlers, each had a Shadow sensor attached and the sum total of wind-whistlings were mixed down to two channels and fed to the stereo FM transmitter hanging from the top far left

leafdragson9ga_wire.aiff new QT5? ( a maple leaf was impaled and blown the length of a 9 gauge ga. steel strand)


(Birch anchoring detail)

The solar powered Tram drawing, whose onboard solenoids could be FM-remotely-instructed to move in either direction, dampen and strike a wire, and then move to another position, etc..


The TRAM meandered among networked galvanized strands which included the Signal Discs


(triggers the #, sequencing, volume, on/off, etc)

Positioned beneath tree canopies and during prolonged, preferrably steady and slow periods of raining, an attempt to manipulate isolated drops was attempted. A pair of worm gears controlled within wooden blocks could corkscrew up or down as a result of solenoid wratcheting: ((data recorder-move pause measure)) This up/down flexibility would position a galvanized strand on either end to be lower or higher. The wratcheting was electro mechanically triggered by raindrop variations and other sound sources in the Terrain Instrument complex. Object to monitor actual raindrop raindrop movements traversing when either lowered or raised much as a finger traces a bow string to change pitch.

Conceptually rain collisions would electrically control a corkscrew electro-mechanical bolt- in either direction- to raise or lower a sounding block.Purposely the equivalent to sliding a finger- to affect a sounding result on a bow string.



"Leif Brush stands in front of a slide illustrating his proposal for a device to record and FM broadcast the sound of large raindrops. That's a fat, flat raindrop in the middle of his forehead," wrote article-author Sarah Lansdell, who also took this photograph for the Louisville Courier-Journal, February 1982return home








A 1976 raindropmonitor prototype consisted of sensed lightning bolt-like copper strips which were freefloating on oak pegs & could be randomly placed beneath trees.







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May 3 1979

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