Traxler’s “The idea of a Tree”

The Idea of a Tree

I find this project by Thomas Traxler to be a wonderful articulation of a sort of mechanistic notion of a tree, complete with inputs (sunlight, yarn, dye) and outputs (color, shape, speed). The title is necessary here, and really sets the frame for our unpacking of the artist’s concept. Mechanically I really like the way a simple mechanical transformation – sunlight into electricity that then powers an electrical motor at differing speeds – is translated in various ways. The dripping dye differently colors the yarn that moves past it – lighter if faster, darker if slower. The material is wound thicker or thinner depending on the speed at which the motor turns. Both result in a complex aesthetic , despite the initial simplicity.

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