The Full Story
The Chickadee Tree
I wanted to create an environmental-musical project, that is both unique and visually/sonically compelling.
After much thought, I came up with the idea of reverse engineering a Chhattisgarh "Sulur" flute and hanging these ancient flutes on a tree so it would make a compelling whistling noise. I also wanted to create these flutes out of transparent, environmental-friendly materials. That's when my journey began.
After experimenting with different materials (which include PVC, PETG, wood, glass, PLA, metal, and more), going through multiple designs, and making a lot of density/length calculations, I decided to go with 40cm acrylic tubes and 23mm honeycomb patterned PLA caps; So it will bring me the cheapest, cleanest, most visually and audibly compelling results.
The Virtual Version
In order to not only see it and visualize it by painting, I decided to build an interactive model using Blender and Unity, so I would be able to aim towards a clear visual concept and know exactly what to expect and what tree to find.
After having a clear vision and accurate 3d models, it was time to print out all the flutes, gather the recycled cooling tubes from friends who didn't need them anymore, find a tree, and install these flutes on the tree.
The End Result
The tree I chose for this first version of the tree is located in Lone Tree Park, Belmont, MA. It has the perfect elevation for the wind and is just secluded enough for birds to visit. These flutes use the same technologies as birdcall whistles, and I wanted to see if the tree could attract nearby birds. It ended up attracting many chickadees. The chickadees are known for their compelling birdcalls and warning calls, which went perfectly with the message I wanted to evoke with this installation.
The Chickadee Tree is here to warn us in a compelling, environmentally friendly way that we are mistreating our environment with various sounds and visual feedback.