BY: JOHNATHAN MOSS
With every footprint I sink deep within the soil, my troubles fade and I feel my senses come back in order. A walk in the woods can be a soothing experience – there is something about the sound of a running stream and the songs shared between birds that allows a person to feel truly present. If there was ever a way to amplify the peace experienced in nature, I am sure you would do it, so what if I told you it is now possible to hear the forest in more detail than you have ever before?
Recently, architecture students from the Estonian Academy of Arts built giant wooden megaphones to allow you to listen in to the subtleties of the squirrels rustling among leaves. Stretching three metres in diameter, the head interior architect, Hannes Praks, explains that they will act like a “bandstand”, magnifying the healing sounds of the surrounding forest.
“We’ll be placing the three megaphones at such a distance and at a suitable angle, so at the centre of the installation, sound feed from all three directions should create a unique merged surround sound effect,” says Praks.
These megaphones are spacious enough that they offer those seated or lying inside ample space for resting, reading, or even playing a musical instrument to collaborate with the sounds of nature. They are a place to breathe, meditate “to listen, and browse the audible book of nature” says Valdur Mikita, a writer and semiotician involved in the project.
So if you are ever in a forest clearing in Estonia’s võru county, you might just be able to answer the question “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
All photography by: tõnu tunnel