"They may get over their arguments but don't say they've buried the hatchet...[David Merleau] gives voices to trees on their own radio station, in their own app...a fascinating project!" CBC As It Happens, May 29, 2019
"...we are all connected in some way... Your human world has technology to bridge your corporeal divides, the forest has fungus!
...What you call 'info tech' Heck, us beneficial fungi have been doing this for ages!!"
ENTRY - The Digital/Fungal Divide (GPS 46.3017, -79.44168)
May 25, 2020
FTR: Laurier Woods is the story of this small urban forest in North Bay Ontario CA, through the lens of the mycorrhizal fungus that lines the forest floor and allows trees to communicate with each other.
I thought it would be fun to imagine this fungus as a radio host sitting there in the dark studio, wearing sunglasses to shade out the On-Air light and the flashing lights from the telephone switchboard. The callers? Well they are the trees, calling in to share a story about this forest, and well to bicker about their neighbours! Good old fashion community radio fun!
As you trigger the hidden entries, you begin to inhabit the narrative in a profound way, your senses are actively absorbing the forest setting and the characters (the trees) begin to speak when you are standing physically right in front of them.
"Yes! They are back, those menaces
armed with implements of destruction.
Argh, the teeth!!...they build things with our body parts!!!"
ENTRY - The Cranky Tamarack and the gentrifying beavers
The main character, the mycorrhizal fungus radio host, proposes that human technology can actually help humans empathize with the entities in a forest. We discover that trees and humans are not dissimilar, in fact, the symbiotic relationships that trees have developed with fungi can be thought of as proto-info-technologies, that serve to extend the awareness of a given tree a great distance from its rooted physical body allowing it to nurture relationships with trees miles away--in much the same way our digital technologies can be considered extensions of ourselves allowing us to experience connections with others on the other side of the planet.
Thought of in this way, trees and humans share the same intention to establish and nurture relationships over long distances. Furthermore, though this lens, we can see how human information and broadcast technology is as much an evolutionary adaptation as these communication “innovations” seen in a forest.