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(x)trees: Dynamically generating forest of trees created by SMS and Tweets from the audience

(x)trees is projected in real time on to buildings and large spaces, exploring our relationship to nature and technology and to create a participatory experience to raise awareness to ecological topics such as deforestation and climate change.

By integrating data mining from SMS and social networks, people participate in the creation of the branches to form a virtual interactive forest of dynamically generating trees.  The audience sends a tweet or text message and sees their message appear on the wall with a branch. The key word can be changed for each event.

Recent Projection
For the PASEO 2020 Drive-thru event at Taos Plaza on September 18,19, 2020, the (x)tree team created a video from the live code. You will see captured tweets and archived articles displayed from the Universal Declaration of rights for Mother Earth and the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 as well as live captured tweets.
v.1: Jared Tarbell. Original concept and browser-based code written in Flash
v.2: Jeff Milton and Joe Roth
v.3: Alessandro Saccoia. Converted to OpenFrameWorks
v.4: Kamen Dimitrov
v.5: Roy MacDonald



(x)trees: Guadalajara 2018
Collaboration with Joe Abraham Dean, projection artist

US Arts Envoy and U.S.-Mexico Sister City Mayor’s Summit. (x)trees projection on to the Guadalajara Cathedral as part of the City of Guadalajara’s GDLuz light festival.  The US Consulate of Guadalajara also coordinated presentations to seven University and high schools around the city to share how I combine art, science and technology and why it is important in today’s world. For this version of (x)trees I collaborated with Joe Dean who mastered a video capture of the (x)trees mapped for the cathedral. The tree branches were generated by messages collected from participants of the U.S.-Mexico Sister City Mayors Summit initiative taking place in Guadalajara, as well as community organizations actively engaged in the U.S.-Mexico relationship, thereby capturing the collective spirit of the two countries through text messages. Branch by branch, the trees form and the messages from each branch are displayed for a fleeting moment. (x)trees:Guadalajara represents the connections that unite us across borders through art, technology, and people-to-people communication. Peoples messages captured the interconnectedness and interdependence of Mexican and American identity, and how art, technology, and communication unites us as global citizens across borders. The GDLuz light festival took place in Guadalajara’s historic center February 14-17, 2018 and also were displayed during a performance at the U.S.-Mexico Sister City Mayor’s Summit at the Centro de Amistad Internacional on February 16, 2018.

(x)trees. IMPA Factory. 2011
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Collaboration with Jared Tarbell (original Flash code) Joe Roth and Jeff Milton (coders)
The (x)trees was projected for the first time in an indoor space as an interactive installation where people were encouraged to play with the mapping code and position the trees. The event took place at IMPA, a factory in Buenos Aires taken over by workers and artists after the economic crisis. In this v.2, programmers Jeff Milton and Joe Roth adapted the original Flash code written by Jared Tarbell. We created a database so that we could also save and visualize historical data, in addition to streaming random data. People could follow us on Twitter and a branch would automatically be generated in their name. Tweet by tweet, person by person, “growing” the algorithmic trees. With  the help of Matias Legare, Minimal Cine and  Arrow Interactiva, (x)trees was projected to an interior wall of the converted warehouse space.

(x)trees@Albuquerque Museum of Fine Art

ISEA2012 Machine Wilderness exhibit 2012

Collaboration with Alessandro Saccoia (original code in Openframeworks)

By integrating data mining from social networks and text messaging, people participate in the creation of the branches and see their message appear on the wall along with others being mined in real time. The audience could send a text message and see their message appear on the wall with a branch. Messages coming in from Twitter contain the designated key words (i.e. trees, nature rights), interspaced with archived inspirational quotes about nature gathered from the web, and the articles from the Universal Declaration of Nature Rights, signed into law in Ecuador for the first time. The experience was designed to be a catalyst for contemplative states of being that allow people to sense their global and local relationship to others, and to contemplate the value of trees and the rights of nature. The interactive sound was created by Alessandro in Pure Data and incorporates sounds collected from nature, crowds and a repeating Prana breath to bring people back to the awareness of their own breath.

Special thanks to Twilio which makes possible the texting feature.

The virtual trees were projected onto a 20′ x 20′ corner space and grew 12′ high in real time from the internet. Bean bag chairs allowed you to kick back and experience this immersive environment.

This version of the (x)trees was transferred from Flash to OpenFrameWorks by Alessandro Saccoia, who also programmed the audio using sounds collected from nature and crowds. People could text or tweet live in front of the piece and catch a glimpse of their message as it floated up and disappeared. Tree-relevant messages are the source of this piece which brings attention to the value of trees and explores our interconnectivity in nature as in technology. This piece was installed at the Albuquerque museum for ISEA2012. The projection spanned 20 feet in either direction of a corner space. The total size was 12′ x 40′. You could send text messages with designated key words in the message to see your message, to create a branch which appeared on the wall within seconds (Thanks to Twilio!).

Special thanks to projectionist, David Logsted of Compass AV, Bareiss Gallery, David Jean Schweitzer, Michael Donnelly, Jared Tarbell, Thomas Greenbaum, Joe Dean, Adain Bane, and Stephen Guerin

(x)trees projection at The PASEO 2014

Taos, New Mexico

(x)trees was projected for the first year of The PASEO Festival, co-founded in 2014 by Agnes Chavez and Matt Thomas. The real time projection allowed for the audience to send text messages and tweets to the key words, “nature” and “trees” to see their messages appear on the wall in real time. (x)trees is designed to raise awareness to deforestation, climate change and biodiversity loss. It explores the need to seek balance between nature and technology.

v.1: Jared Tarbell. Original concept and browser-based code written in Flash
v.2: Jeff Milton and Joe Roth
v.3: Alessandro Saccoia. Converted to OpenFrameWorks
v.4: Kamen Dimitrov