The Forest of Everything

In collaboration with Wendy Kirkup

The Forest of Everything is a sound-image work composed in collaboration with a group of children from a Glaswegian after-school club and artist-filmmaker Wendy Kirkup, inspired by John Paynter’s research into the use of open works in classroom music making.

The work responds to Orcadian poet and experimental filmmaker Margaret Tait’s Aerial (1974) and departs from Paynter’s classroom exercises in the spirit of Aerial; a way of exploring light and sound guided by people who instinctively create through play to discover what the materials can do. The film and its soundtrack were created through a series of workshops whereby the children recorded their own sounds and created their own graphic scores, as a way of hearing instruments being played with and a world of sonorous possibility emerging in the ear of the recording artists.

The Forest of Everything is a difficult work to describe. As with Aerial, and as it is with play, it may be best understood if you “allow yourself to respond to it instead of trying to follow it intellectually” (Tait, 2021).

The Forest of Everything was commissioned for ‘there and then and never again‘, Margaret Tait 100 and by LUX Scotland, 2019.