A Conversation Between Trees


A Conversation Between Trees Exhibition at Rufford Country Park


A Conversation Between Trees is a touring artwork that connects forests in the UK with the Mata Atlantica forest close to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  The project involved five artists’ residencies, three exhibitions, and many more public interventions and workshops in forest regions in the UK and Brazil.

The resulting interactive artwork reveals unseen aspects of these forest environments.  A Conversation Between Trees is an international collaboration between the artist collective Active Ingredient, Horizon Research Institute (University of Nottingham), Senior Climate Scientist Carlo Buontempo and British Brazilian artist Silva Leal.

The exhibition involves a live ‘performance of data’ as part of an installation and an interactive mobile phone experience that audiences can take out into a forest or park close to the exhibition.  Sensors attached to mobile phones are placed in a tree in both forest locations. Live environmental and photographic data is collected from the trees, projected on two opposite screens in a gallery space as an abstract visualization.

In the centre of the gallery space, recorded data is drawn live by a custom built machine.  The Climate Machine scorches annual global CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) levels onto rotating circular sheets of recycled paper to make drawings that are reminiscent of tree rings. The turntable rotates with a stack of paper on it, a drawing arm that holds a heating element moves in and out to burn a circular graph. It moves very slowly to scorch the paper effectively, taking approximately 25 minutes to complete a single drawing. The machine sits in the middle of the exhibition, between the two projected real time visualizations of the UK and Brazilian forest, to connect the present experience of the forest shown through the visualizations, within a more temporal scientific perspective of climate change.
Visitors can borrow a smart phone and take it out with them. The mobile phone application reveals live data captured by the captured by the audience as they explore the forest, enabling the audience to use their own bodies and sensory responses to the trees in order to act as ‘human sensors’.

A Conversation Between Trees involved residencies in:

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Estudio Movel Experimental, Rio de Janeiro

Fermynwoods Contemporary Art, Northamptonshire

Rufford Gallery and Country Park, Nottinghamshire

Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World, Devon

AI – Conversation Between Trees. from Jeffery Baker on Vimeo.

To view the outcomes of the residency at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in August 2010 and at Estudio Movel Experimental click here

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