A small potted tree has a perpetual conversation with people. Through the use of video projection, a tree is augmented in a non-invasive way, enabling the presentation of volumetric light patterns using itʼs own leaves as voxels (3D pixels).
We have developed our own structured light system (called MapTools-SL) which scans the location of every pixel in 3D, allowing a cloud of scattered projector pixels to be used as 3D Voxels.
The tree invites viewers with a choreographed cloud of light that can respond visitors motion. As visitors approach, they can explore the immediate and cryptic nature of this reaction. The tree can form gestures in this way, and can in turn detect the gestures of its visitors. By applying a superficial layer of immediate interaction to the tree, can people better appreciate the long term invisible interaction that they share with it?
We propose an alternative to the media facade, whereby designers and advertisers use LED and projection technology to display graphics through the built environment. We suggest that use of media facades can lead to an asymptote of confusion and visual pollution. Instead, we ask how can an unscripted natural entity within our environment can also be visually celebrated. If we can promote the use of trees as outdoor visual media, then we can better plan cities to both accommodate the human requirement for nature, and our developing want for digital control over the visual environment.
Since the colour temperature of light produced by a video projector's bulb is similar to the surface of the sun (5800K), we suggest that over time, the tree could naturally react to the light that is projected onto it. In this way we could speak to the tree in the medium it can react to most immediately, light. We listen to the tree's reaction through the detailed 3D scans of its shape that are produced by the projection system. We propose this for further research. (UPDATE: This has been verified at FutureEverything. After 1 week, growth was detected in volumes of the tree which were covered by projection light)
This type of photosynthesis would also allow for the tree to self-optimise for projection. Leaves which are in shadow from the projection move out to find the projector's light. Furthermore light wasted inside the tree is absorbed in photosynthesis, which converts local carbon dioxide to oxygen.
exhibition : FutureEverything 2011
date : 11th - 22nd May 2011
venue : 4 Picadilly Place
website : http://www.futureeverything.org