“This Exquisite Forest” is an online collaborative art project, presented by the Tate Modern gallery and Google, which enables people to create short animations that grow from each other’s contributions.
To launch the project, seven artists from the Tate’s collection created short animations using Google’s web-based drawing tool. Visitors to the website and the Tate then add to these, to grow ‘trees’ of films, each leaf representing a new animated segment.
Jane Burton, the Head of Content and Creative Director for Tate Media, told Euronews: “What we wanted to do is get artists together with Tate audiences and an online creative community to co-create. And in effect, what we’re doing here is taking inspiration from the surrealists and the idea of ‘Exquisite Corpse’, where somebody creates something, hands it on to the next person and it becomes a big chain reaction. And we’re doing it for the digital age with animation tools.”
As more sequences are added, the videos grow dynamically, branching and dividing in different directions to create an infinite number of possible endings. As Burton says, it’s like “taking a line for a walk.”
Aaron Koblin from the Google Creative Lab spoke about the process: “So again, here, this is another tree and you have an individual artist creating the seed and then you can watch as different people take this box, in this case, on a different journey and totally different stories.”
As Koblin underlines, the project is about pushing the limits of creativity in collaboration online as well as the capabilities of the web-browser.
The installation, with large-scale projections and digital drawing stations where visitors can take part, are free to visit at the Tate Modern.
Koblin also told us about some of the technology available to anyone taking part: “So we’re using special infrared flashlights, basically people can pick up these wands and they can select different areas of the tree and navigate on this large surface without ever having to touch the wall, or physically engage. They can just shine a light and see their contributions.”
The installation at the Tate Modern can be seen
until the end of the year.