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 commissioned for Braunschweig Lichtparcours 2020. The work is installed (13 June – 19 October) in Braunschweig at the Löwenwall, Wallmauer an der Okerseite. The full text of it reads ‘The sound you are frightened of is only the wind in the trees’.

Conceived as an intervention in this very particular urban site – beside a city highway, bridge and underpass, yet tucked behind trees on more or less woodland footpath along the Löwenwall – the work operates in the tension between its invocation of fear and 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 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?