Into the Woods Q &A
Ahead of the launch of her interactive storytelling project Into The Woods, I had a chat with our good mate and former Coexister Emily Trott, about sound, phenomenology, and giant metal chambers hidden underground.
Hey Emily! Could you give me an idea of how the idea for Into The Woods came about? What was it that initially inspired you to bring it to life?
I studied Fine Art at Plymouth University and towards my third year I had a keen interest in the subject of Phenomenology — the study of our immediate experience with the corporeal, tangible world. It was during this time, when I was walking through the woods in Cornwall, that I stumbled across a particularly interesting phenomenon.
I found a huge, undisturbed, underground, round, metal chamber, which was completely pitch black. Due to the size and structure I was able to hear the most extraordinary sounds. Into The Woods is not only about the discovery of this chamber but also the discovery of what this chamber represented to me.
You spent several years working at Coexist before you decided to quit to put all your energy into this project. Were there any aspects of working here that have had an impact on the themes in your work?
Yes. Working at Coexist gave me the opportunity to go to Ecodharma for the Meeting The Wild course. It was there that I was really able to reconnect with my story. My experience at Ecodharma taught me many lessons. One very important lesson is to slow down and be present. Upon my return I knew what I needed to do and I knew I had the support of everyone I worked with at Coexist to make this project happen.
You’ve described the piece as “a dark story of self-discovery and exploration into the unknown”. What, for you, is the relationship between self-discovery and immersion in nature?
When we immerse ourselves in nature we re-learn how to listen, see, feel, smell and taste. Our deep bond with nature gives us the chance to reflect; so we must reconnect with nature if we want to reconnect with ourselves. When we are able to quiet our mind in a meditative way we gain a perspective on our lives that is hard to reach in the busy life of the city.
Sound plays a very prominent role in Into The Woods. Could you explain why you decided to use sound in this way?
When I discovered the underground tank, because of the lack of light, the only sense I could rely on to understand the space I was in, was my hearing. My spatial awareness was mapped out by the sounds I heard, and this prompted me to explore how we experience the world through sound and how our senses create a subjective reality for each of us.
After the show I will make a physical book and an audio book. The audio book will be recorded binaurally which is a particular way of recording that creates a 3D sound experience for the listener. Sound is a very powerful way of transporting our minds to another place, and I hope to do this for my audience.
You’ve decided to use Crowdfunder to make this project happen. What made you choose this form of funding, and what can people expect in return for supporting your project?
I have Crowdfunded a project before: my sister and I made a travel documentary film, which raised £1450 for The Cube Microplex cinema in Bristol. The money went towards helping the Cube to buy their building.
When you back a Crowdfunder project, you are helping to make ideas a reality. You are becoming a part of something new and exciting and in return you are one of the first people to reap the fruits of their hard work. When you pledge on Into The Woods you will receive rewards such as Lino-printed illustrations from the book; the binaural audiobook; VIP tickets to the show; a signed copy of the book; not to mention an amazingly warm, fuzzy feeling for doing something great.