[May 17 – Aug 18] ARBORETUM by Mónica de la Torre and Hans Tammen

ARBORETUM is a collaboration between poet Mónica de la Torre and sound artist Hans Tammen. A series of poems written by de la Torre, inspired by some of the trees of Governors Island, are in turn processed and spatialized by Tammen. De la Torre considered the botanical and historical specificities of species of the island’s trees. 

LOCATION: New Waves in Art and Tech exhibition

Harvestworks Art and Technology Program Building 10a, Nolan Park Governors Island

Artist Opening Saturday May 18, 2024 from 2 – 4:30 pm with a performance by Mónica de la Torre and Hans Tammen at 2:30 pm.

All events are free. 

Open to the public from 11 am to 5 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and by appointment.

Photo courtesy of the Artists

If we could hear trees talk to each other through the fungal networks connecting them, what would they say about their deployment by city officials and park authorities, about the humans around them? If we could hear the carbon they store, as well as the records they keep, how would they sound? What memories do they carry of their respective migrations; how do they perceive their surroundings? Questions such as these informed the poems, their electronic processing and their location in a multichannel sound environment. The piece weaves word play, lyric meditations, and documentary fragments that produce an ambient poetics and ecology of sounds when joined with their sonic counterparts.

Special thanks to Erik Bell at the NYU Media Commons Audio Lab and the Harvestworks Artist in Residence Program.

•       BIOS

Mónica de la Torre photograph by Nat Ward

Mónica de la Torre’s most recent book, Repetition Nineteen (Nightboat), centers on experimental translation. Other books include The Happy End/All Welcome (Ugly Duckling Presse)—a riff on Kafka’s Amerika—and Public Domain. She has published several books in Spanish, including Taller de Taquimecanografía (Tumbona), written jointly with the eponymous women artists’ collective she co-founded. She is a contributing editor to BOMB Magazine and, with Alex Balgiu, co-edited the anthology Women in Concrete Poetry 1959–79 (Primary Information). She is recipient of the 2022 Foundation for Contemporary Arts C.D. Wright Award for Poetry and a 2022 Creative Capital grant. She teaches poetry at Brooklyn College.

Hans Tammen photo by Joerg Steinmetz.

Hans Tammen likes to set sounds in motion, and then sit back to watch the movements unfold. Using textures, timbre and dynamics as primary elements, his music is continuously shifting, with different layers floating into the foreground while others disappear. This flows like clockwork, “transforming a sequence of instrumental gestures into a wide territory of semi-hostile discontinuity; percussive, droning, intricately colorful, or simply blowing your socks off” (Touching Extremes). He works with multichannel sound for over 20 years, focusing on the combination of the loudspeaker orchestra concept with object-based sound such as Ambisonics. A residency at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford in 2019 allowed him to extend his performance software to 64 channels, and he presented a work for a Wavefield Synthesis System at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg, Germany in 2012. 


“In wit, in range, de la Torre’s gifts are all-too apparent, but her real brilliance is in bringing together seemingly mutually exclusive elements: the poem/the story, the emotive/the theoretical, the amusing/the tragic.” —The Brooklyn Rail


IG: @m_de_la_t

IG: @hanstammen


About the New Waves in Art and Tech exhibition. Programmed for the Harvestworks Art and Technology Program on Governors Island this group show that opens the season with studies in human perception via artworks that explore privacy, brain-computer interfaces, climate and fungal networks, Artificial Intelligence and themes of air, flying and floating.  Selected by the Harvestworks arts committee, the works use creative technology such as audio spatialization,  stochastic audio, gesture and biotech interfaces and simple motorized devices. 

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