Trees produce annual growth rings within their trunks, hidden beneath their bark. The thickness and shape of the rings can vary, depending the health of the trees. Environmental changes such as fires, droughts, and pollution levels, as well as disease, all affect their appearance. The rings are visual documentation of the lives of trees.
An art installation in the Fondation Cartier’s garden displays real-time data from two trees. Digital screens display a representation of their growth rings, as they change due to environmental conditions. The project is a collaboration between the artist Thijs Biersteker and the scientist/botanist Stefano Mancuso and his International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology.
Twelve sensors at the site measure the fluctuations in air quality, air composition, and the photosynthesis of the trees. The data estimates the real-time impact of climate change on Paris. Increases co2 levels due to Paris traffic and drought due to increasing temperatures have an immediate effect on the appearance of the rings. The data incorporates recent scientific breakthroughs in plant memory and root communication as well.
The installation exists at the intersection of art, science, and technology. It provides a visual representation of data, helping visitors understand the impact of environmental factors on nature in a real and tangible way.
Location: Foundation Cartier in Paris, France
Artist: Thijs Biersteker
Scientist: Stefano Mancuso