When Plants Migrate is a 4-channel sound artwork composed using field recordings on Jeju Island’s Halla Mountain, in Republic of Korea. The recording includes sounds of humans and human activity on the mountain, and forefronts the sounds of the mountain’s changing ecosystem, including birds, water and of course plants.

Audio samples from When Plants Migrate (formatted for 2-channel listening)

Jeju Island is known for its ecological richness and vibrant tangible experience arising from its mix of the foreign and the indigenous. Halla Mountain and Jeju Island cannot be thought of as two separate entities. Humans call this land, risen through whatever force and surrounded by the ocean, both a mountain and an island. This geological mass is partitioned and distinguished by the human systems and structures of perception. However, when faced with the immense history and ecology of the Earth, the definitions we give what is indigenous and what is migratory are no longer valid. With the soaring peak of Hallasan, Jeju Island’s climate varies according to altitude, and each region is host to different sorts of vegetation. Recently however, due to global warming, some species that lived at lower altitudes are moving to habitats higher up the mountain. The movement of these vegetation belts can be viewed as an indicator of the climate crisis from a scientific point of view, but few people can get a tangible grasp of this movement.

When Plants Migrate was commissioned as an audio-visual conversation work for the Homo Migratio exhibition (2023) at Jeju Museum of Art, KR. The 4 channel sound installation was presented in collaboration with Sookyun Yang’s immersive visuals of the same name.