Sometimes I think it's difficult for people to really grasp that trees are breathing, functioning beings with intricate processes that somehow come together even though these organisms do not have nervous systems or brains like humans and animals. This is one of the ideas that drew me to study forestry in the first place, because it's so beyond my understanding no matter how long I ponder it. I will never stop being amazed by trees and what they are capable of despite how still and static they appear, and I wish people didn't miss out so often in regards to understanding what our communities gain by having trees growing throughout them.
This installation is an educational and artistic perspective of environmental services of trees that was put in place to raise awareness about these benefits.
"The ‘Breathing Trees’ display is based in Russell Square – one of they city’s best known public areas – and is intended to change a typical city park into a living, breathing organism using light and sound installations.The artwork is a collaboration between Camden Borough Council and digital art company Creatmosphere. It uses a series of multi-colour LED lights positioned within two of the square’s largest trees to visually transform the canopy into the ‘lungs’ of the city, rising and falling to the sound of breathing and a beating heart.
And Councillor Phil Jones, Cabinet member for sustainability at Camden said the art would help reinforce their efforts to remind the public of how vital trees are to urban areas.
'Breathing trees in not just a visual audio spectacle…it will reinforce our message that our natural environment must be protected,' he said.
'Without protecting our wonderful natural resources we will be unable to tackle the many environmental issues in the years to come.' "
In one week, we will be in Seattle taking in 80 degree temperatures, great seafood and the culture of the northwest. One of the sites I am most looking forward to visiting is the Olympic Sculpture Park, an extension of the Seattle Art Museum. The reason behind this is Neukom Vivarium, an art installation surrounding life cycles and the decomposition process of an old growth log. Here is a brief description of the installation by Mark Dion from the park web site:
"Neukom Vivarium is a hybrid work of sculpture, architecture, environmental education and horticulture that connects art and science. Sited at the corner of Elliott Avenue and Broad Street, it features a sixty-foot-long 'nurse log' in an eighty-foot-long custom-designed greenhouse. Set on a slab under the glass roof of the greenhouse, the log has been removed from the forest ecosystem and now inhabits an art system. Its ongoing decay and renewal represent nature as a complex system of cycles and processes. Visitors observe life forms within the log using magnifying glasses supplied in a cabinet designed by the artist. Illustrations of potential log inhabitants-bacteria, fungi, lichen, plants, and insects-decorate blue and white tiles that function as a field guide, assisting visitors' identification of 'specimens.' Neukom Vivarium is the artist's first permanent public art work in the United States."
Andy Holden created this piece, in addition to some other knitted work shown below. Can you imagine how long it took to knit all of that fabric? That's a lot of surface area. I'm definitely going to keep an eye on his web site, in hopes of seeing more knitted medium used in the future.