Autonomous Trees, a collective exploration of the potential relationship(s) between humans and trees with enhanced abilities.
Autonomous Tree is an art installation in which a tree is transformed to hypothetically represent and act on the behalf of non-human living beings within established human systems of governance.
The installation focuses on a living tree fitted with replicas of digital sensors and devices utilised on autonomous vehicles and security apparatus today. An arboreal chat-bot, accessed by visitors using their mobile phone, enables a conversation between visiting humans and the tree. In its current iteration, the Autonomous Tree presents a monologue focusing on their frustration with humans living in affluent parts of the world and the collective harm they cause to living systems—culminating with a hefty financial fine issued as punishment. This version will be exhibited in October at Dutch Design Week.
My proposal is a hybrid format that combines the presentation of the physical interactive installation in Barcelona with either a workshop or participatory presentation to consider alternative and more pluralist narratives, relationships and missions between the human and the tree. After digesting ideas and explorations from IAM attendees, the arboreal chat-bot will be rapidly modified to present an alternative to the initially presented narrative.
Find out more about the Autonomous Tree in its current form in the DDW21 Program.