Documentation of the first art installation of the Canada Research Chair MÉDIANE, presented outdoors in July 2021 near the Maison de l’arbre Frédéric-Back, Espace pour la vie, Jardin botanique Montréal. This research-creation, an open-sky lab about forests, imaginaries and changing climates, bridges technological arts, forest sciences and public experiences. How to express visually a tree’s strategies for drinking water in dry periods? The installation experiments artistically with the ecophysiological data of three trees — a sugar maple, an American beech and a balsam fir — collected by the research programme SmartForests Canada, from July to September 2020 in the lower Laurentians, Quebec. At the Jardin, data’s expression is combined with video and audio compositions and a custom-made weather station collecting units in situ. The artwork proposes tree technologies (internal hydrological system, photosynthesis) and machines as witness and memory, up close and from afar, of a continuous sensing relation between forest, weather and climate; a situated, constantly variable, cyclical and energetic exchange. The co-construction of experiential knowledges opens in an assemblage of temporary architectural structures, a site linking soil, the living environment and the atmosphere that can weave a sympathy, a sharing, between trees, living millennial allies, and urban communities.

MÉDIANE team 2020-2021
Natalia Balska (sensors), Pier Oliver Bourgault (production assistant). Maxime Boutin (technical direction), Antoine Caron (production and research assistant), Stéphane Claude (co-conceptor), Camille Courier (production and research assistant), Jean-François Duguay (production assistant), Zoé Fauvel (project manager), Dan Kneeshaw (lead scientist, SmartForests), Sylvie Laplante (research assistant). Marie-Eve Morissette (Touch Designer), Aurélie Painnecé (graphic designer), Jacques Perron (publications consultant), Caroline Pierret, Richard-Max Tremblay (photographers), Kévin Pinvidic (3D and architectural renderings), Christoforos Pappas (engineer and scientist, SmartForests), chantal t paris (research assistant), Archie Reid (production and research assistant), Gisèle Trudel (co-conceptor).
With support from The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), The Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), The Fonds de recherche du Québec - Société et culture (FRQSC), École des arts visuels et médiatiques (UQAM), Hexagram-UQAM, SmartForests Canada, Espace pour la vie - Jardin botanique de Montréal.

Documentation editing : Gisèle Trudel
Documentation music : Stéphane Claude