If Trees Were Lone Women What Would They Sound Like: Clare Archibald

‘If trees were lone women what would they sound like’  is an opportunity for those on site to track, trace and immerse themselves in the audio of women from around the world whispering in words, sounds and music from 17 identified trees.

In creating a loosely delineated star shaped ‘Lone Women Wood’ this work will produce an ongoing record of answers to the question often asked of women, how do you feel about going into the woods alone, and will facilitate the voices of those who might not otherwise do so, to be heard there. Combined with the sounds of the forest, those in the space will catch glimpses of desire, calm, joy, fear, myth, reality, hopes and how it might feel if the polyphony of women’s voices were to float free in the air and connect with the environment, and those human and non-human elements within it. 

It is an opportunity for women to find the site alone but also feel surrounded and supported by the traces of others. It will give insight to those used to spending time in woods alone or otherwise, enabling them to catch the different perspectives of others’ real and imagined experiences. The traces of many will connect and cause people to listen deeply. The tracking down of the ‘Lone Women Wood’ will give a sense of what it is to anticipate the unknown, not quite sure of what will be there. In order to find the ‘talking trees’ people will have to spend time moving quietly through the space, being open to what they might hear and encounter, and also what they might miss.

Those experiencing the ‘Lone Women Wood’ will be invited to record their own audio message afterwards, creating an ongoing dialogue of  real and imagined individual experience and wider connection. 

Update 17th September from Lone Women@wildernessflash “Thank you all for your contributions. ‘The Lone Women Wood’ will play the sounds of 130+ people, in 10 languages, with a range of words, sounds and music covering birth, death and a huge range of different stuff in between. Thank you to everyone “

Background information and map

When visiting the Lone Woman Wood please consider the following….

  • The wood is intended to be a quiet, contemplative space and we ask you to be mindful of this when visiting.
  • Any content identified with trauma warnings will be allocated to one tree identifiable by red wool around the trunk. Please note that although the other content is not trigger warned you may still find it to be emotional in different ways.
  • Visitors are asked to maintain physical distance from other visitors to allow for deeper listening and to minimise Covid risk.
  • Children can experience the ‘Lone Women Wood’ at parental discretion and with supervision only as they may find the audio or sounds, especially in darkness, to be upsetting.
  • Sunset is at 7.10pm with full darkness at around 7.45pm. During full darkness someone will be available where possible at the entrance to the ‘Lone Women Wood’ should you wish to be accompanied in visiting.
  • Visitors to the ‘Lone Women Wood’ are asked not to touch the MP3s in any way but to report any issues to the information tent.

Clare Archibald is a Scottish writer and poet who uses text, sound, image and materials to explore ideas of articulation, place, movement, the balance of thought and feelings and what of the private we make public, and why. Widely published in the UK and internationally, she has read and exhibited her work at literary festivals and events, and in art galleries, car parks and woods. Most recently she has completed a site responsive album, Birl of Unmap with Scottish composers/sound artists, Kinbrae. 


Sanctuary 2021. Images Bart Photography