Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, FOREST (for a thousand years...), 2012, 22-channel outdoor audio installation. Installation view from dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany

The Institute of the Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with the UC Santa Cruz's Arboretum and Botanic Garden and the San Jose Museum of Art, is pleased to present FOREST (for a thousand years...), the beguiling and uncanny audio installation by renowned Canadian artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller.


FOREST (for a thousand years...) will be installed in the redwood grove of UC Santa Cruz's Arboretum and Botanic Garden. This will be the West Coast debut of the 28-minute sound installation, originally commissioned for dOCUMENTA 13 in Kassel, Germany.


To experience the piece, you follow a path through a densely forested redwood grove. Branches crunch under your feet until you reach a small clearing populated by tree stumps. As you sit down, the sounds of rustling trees, crackling branches, and bird calls subtly intensify. An airplane passes overhead. Someone laughs. It is nearly impossible to determine which sounds are coming from a recording and which sounds are live. When machine guns begin to fire and an explosion detonates, the eeriness of the experience becomes laced with quickly amplifying uneasiness. An indeterminate history merges with the present, filled with both horrors and the sublime, and becomes an audible presence in the shadowy forest.


As Gregory Volk wrote in Art in America, "A remarkable thing about Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller's utterly captivating sound installation is how it blurs distinctions between site and art. You enter a clearing in the forest, sit down on a wooden stump, and simply listen. Cardiff and Bures Miller's work incorporates the actual forest into an audio composition emitted from more than thirty speakers. Sometimes there is a near synchronicity of natural and mediated sounds, and it's tough to discern what is live and what is recorded.... In turn frightening and deeply touching, ominous and serene, Cardiff and Bures Miller's forest soundscape is a wonder." (Gregory Volk, "A Walk in the dOCUMENTA Park," Art in America, June 15, 2012.‚Äč)