Smoking Tree

And now one of the most beautiful pieces i’ve seen at Ars Electronica Center.

What happens when trees are no longer able to turn carbon dioxide into the oxygen we need to breathe?

0daydayday.jpgDuring the day

In southern Ireland near John Gerrard’s home, an oak tree’s leaves suddenly cease producing oxygen and instead begin to give off carbon. The Smoke Tree is in fact a virtual sculpture. The polluting process unfolds over a whole day creating an ever-changing tableau, a sculpture in virtual smoke which presents a disquieting yet strangely plausible possibility.

0duskkke.jpgAt dusk

Over time the tree is weakening and producing less smoke. In approx. 200 years the tree will eventually stop producing smoke and fall rendering the work as a landscape from that time on.

As in previous works (see Watchful Portrait and The Ladder) the presentation frame operates as a navigation device, allowing the public to look around the tree as an ‘image object’ or virtual sculpture.