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Gigantic wooden megaphones amplify the sounds of nature in Estonia

A group of Estonian students have built three gigantic wooden megaphones to amplify the sounds of the forest. The installation can also be used as an area to sit, rest, and read.

A clearing located in the forest of Võru, in Estonia, has been turned into a place where to listen to the sounds of nature, relax and contemplate. Thanks to the support of the local community, a group of scholars of the Estonian Academy of Arts have built and installed three gigantic wooden megaphones. These cone-shaped structures of up to three metres in diametre are called “ruup” and provide ample space where to read and rest. They provide a potential shelter for visitors and hikers but also a place home to open-air lectures, small cultural events and concerts.

The students aimed to create a sort of library in the lush forest of Pähni Nature Centre that amplifies the quiet sounds of nature, such as the twitter of birds and the rustling of leaves. “The uniqueness of Estonia is its richness of sounds in forests as well as silence”, said Valdur Mikita, writer and semiotician involved in the project. “In the megaphones you can listen to thoughts. It’s a place where to browse the audible book of nature through sound”.

Hannes Praks, head of the interior architecture division at the Estonian Academy of Arts, talked about the remote place where the megaphones have been installed. “The more we move away from quivering Tallinn, the better we can hear low-frequency vibrations of nature,” she said. The experiment has been working up to now. No surprise for the Baltic country, where forests cover about 45 percent of all lands and are considered the most important natural resource, environmental activism played a key role after the country’s independence and the nation is a pioneer for innovation, spread and use of new technologies.

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