SymphonTree | Performed December 17, 2015 at the Democracy Center in Cambridge, MA and May 12, 2016 at Harvard Graduate School of Design
What even constitutes as natural in the largely suburban and urban American context, and how can a spiritual reverence be fostered for everyday nature? This question is surprisingly difficult to answer. However, most American municipalities utilize trees as part of the communal environment. Trees can therefore act as a connection to the broader natural world for people that did not have the benefit of a countrified upbringing. While it is true that shrubs and flowers are also ubiquitous in urban and suburban American environments, trees are special. Like architecture, trees dwarf humans physically. Because of their stature, trees have the ability to influence the physical environment (in terms of light quality, air quality, sound, and scent) in a more apparent way than smaller plants. And the best way to consider our connection to trees is not necessarily through numbers, but through stories. Many of us have shared experiences relating to trees, anchored by their ancient presence. Inspired by collected stories about trees, SymphonTree reflects on trees as totems of memory and as potent reminders of own responsibilities to the environment.