In The Trees


Steel letters and led bulbs.

Length 30m x Height 50cm

Photos: © Stefan Stark.

In the Trees is a large scale public-space sculpture originally commissioned for Braunschweig Lichtparcours 2020. The full text of it reads ‘The sound you are frightened of is only the wind in the trees’.

Conceived as an intervention in heavily wooded urban site beside a city highway, bridge, underpass and footpath – the work operates in the tension between its invocation of fear and its offer of reassurance, the speculative presence and simultaneous absence or denial of a threat. What might the sound referenced in the text of the work be? Who is the ‘you’ that is frightened? And who is the speaker? Can the generic, well-known form of reassurance apparently on offer be trusted?

Whilst connecting to the landscape and installation context, Etchells’ work, at the same time, gestures evocatively to broader questions, in particular perhaps the cultural and political anxieties around climate change. What are we frightened of as individuals and as a society? Can we reassure ourselves? Should we accept the reassurance offered by others?