Aural Forest

3D audio installation & performance

Field work at Mata da Albergaria, Gerês
September 2021 to June 2022

Aural forest is an immersive 3D audio installation, of wildlife soundscapes of the Mata da Albergaria in Gerês mountain.
The project crosses the fields of music, sound art, bioacoustics applied to well-being, spatial acoustics and 3D audio technology. A spatial sound installation offers an immersive experience in the forest vibrations. This acoustic sensibilisation comes to attune, revitalize, rebalance and regenerate physical and mental health.
Environmental sounds are recorded with ambisonics technology in the Mata da Albergaria in Gerês, in forest ecosystems of autochthonous oaks with numerous water sources, next to the river Homem. These ambisonics recordings allow a spatial and immersive 3D audio playback with a 360º spherical perception field around the body. A multi-channel diffusion system in 7.4.2 allows the location of the sound sources in the sphere space around us.
Aural Forest creates an installation and performance to generate an experience of profound active listening to wildlife, with vibratory qualities normally not accessible in daily life. In this surround sound environment, we will have an immersion experience in a sound bath as if we were in the forest.
Aural Forest is based on the proven benefits of a natural therapy from Japan, named Shinrin-Yoku, translated as forest bath. The practice developed in the 1980s became an important part of Japanese preventive care and therapeutic healing. With evidences demonstrated from its health benefits, doctors began to prescribe forest baths as an antidote to urban lives confined into interior spaces. Most of the Western population spends up to 90% of their time within closed spaces, disconnected from the natural environment, overloaded from digital information, exposed to visual super-stimulation at a rushed rhythm. When not balanced with air-free practices, we all feel the negative impacts on our well-being, at physical, emotional and mental level, like tiredness, nervousness, tension, irritation, discouragement. With pandemic and social isolation, these effects have been worsening and can become devastating in more vulnerable and sensitive people.
Exposure to wildlife sound baths generates a vibratory field which, by acoustic effect of sympathetic resonance, tune us with the circadian rhythms of the planet, regulating and harmonizing our nervous, arterial, respiratory, cardiac system. The benefits are immediate. In investigations in the field of bioacoustics science applied to well-being these results have been proven.
Aural Forest offers an immersive experience in forest vibrations to slow down, revitalize, rebalance and regenerate health. When we recognize the value of vitality that forests transmit us and how much they benefit us, we strengthen our bond with life on planet. Aural forest comes to raise audiences to the importance of protecting forests, and from connecting to their vitality.

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