Rain Forest Cycle

sound installation

duration: continuous (13 hours or 18 hours)

Natasha Barrett 2000

"Rain Forest Cycle" is the performance of a continuously running sound-recording made in a remote location of primary rain forest in Costa Rica. The original recordings were made over a continuous 24-hour period with four microphones positioned in a large pyramid. The purpose of the recordings where to obtain temporal, spatial, and spectral information about the distribution of acoustic sources in the rain forest. This study yielded three bodies of work: (a) a tape composition called "Viva La Selva", using much of the extracted temporal, spatial and spectral information as structural inspiration, as well as the actual recordings as source material; (b) a research paper describing the practicalities of this method of animal localisation; (c) "Rain Forest Cycle" - a continuous sound installation, played over spaced loudspeakers, recreating, if not completely accurately, the wonderful and bizarre sound-world experienced inside the rain forest.

Technical information

x1 mac able to play 8 mono sounds simultaneously at 16 bit 44.1Khz without glitching (e.g. G3 350Mhz).

x1 four channel sound card.

22GB disk space free (for 16 hour continuously running version).

4 high quality loudspeakers of reasonable power (rock band PA is not suitable because these speakers do not have a suitable frequency response. Studio monitors are advisable).

The four loudspeakers should be set up in a 20 meter equilateral base triangle with the forth loudspeaker elevated to 7 meters (diagrammatic plan will be enclosed with the CDs). However, smaller dimensions also seem to work. Use loudspeakers powerful enough for the dimensions used.

Materials are stored on CD. I think there are 26 Cds.