The iForest (or Immersive Forest) is Pete M Wyer’s large scale immersive sound installation. It began in 2005 as part of a research project at Portsmouth University under the title ‘The iPod Forest’. Since then, Pete M Wyer’s research and development in immersive sound has led to the creation a raft of new works that include new ways of scoring, creating and experiencing music, as can be seen in this early score below:
As well as conventional items such as pitch, rhythm, tone and dynamic, scores use spatiality as a component, mapping the trajectory of sounds that move through space. This makes for a unique way of writing and experiencing music.
Fundamental to each iForest is a response to environment. Every space has its own acoustic ecology as well as its ecosystems and countless hidden stories. Great emphasis is placed on creating compositions that ‘participate’ with the environment. Many iForests feature the human voice, this is because humans are a part of the natural world and iForests aim to create a deeper connection for visitors, a reminder that we are not simply external observers, we are part of an intricate and complex web of interactions.
In 2017 a permanent iForest opened at The Wild Center, New York, it features 24 independent audio speakers distributed across woodland, featuring a 72 voice choir, The Crossing, singing primarily in the indigenous Mohawk language. Other iForests have been created for the Winter Garden, Manhattan (2016) and Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan (2018). More iForest installations are planned around the world in 2020 and 2021.