Hollow: See and Experience over 10,000 different wood species

This week the University of Bristol is revealing a new public art project by Katie Paterson and Zeller & Moye architects featuring Over 10,000 unique tree species collected from locations around the word ranging from Yakushima, Japan to the White Mountains of California.

From the oldest tree in the world to some of the youngest and near-extinct species, the 10,000 wood samples contained within this work tell the stories of the planet’s history and evolution through time. This includes the Indian Banyan Tree, under which Buddha achieved enlightenment, to the Japanese Ginkgo tree in Hiroshima, a tree that witnessed and survived one of the darkest moments of human history.

Katie Paterson recalls: “Some samples are incredibly rare – fossils of unfathomable age, and fantastical trees such as Cedar of Lebanon, the Phoenix Palm, and the Methuselah tree thought to be one of the oldest trees in the World at 4,847 years of age, as well as a railroad tie taken from the Panama Canal Railway, which claimed the lives of between 5,000 to 10,000 workers over its 50 year construction and wood is salvaged from the remnants of the iconic Atlantic city boardwalk devastated by hurricane Sandy in 2012.”

This work is the result of three years’ research and sourcing, the collection of tree species (one of the largest amassed in the UK to date) has been built through the generosity of arboretums, xylaria, herbaria and collectors world-wide. This project is made possible thanks to with generous donations from the Herbario Nacional de México, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Kyoto University, the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard and many more

Its creation comes as part of a collaboration with BBC Four and art directors Situations. As an extension of the project, Situations developed a public participation project in association with BBC Four, called Treebank. This new digital platform offers everyone the chance to contribute to a online archive of memories, impressions and creative responses which capture how trees shape our existence on the planet. These might include audio or visual contributions, describing a particular place and time, a rare and ancient tree or a common, but personally significant tree to create a digital forest for the future. You can find out more about Treebank here.