: ZKM :: Works :: The Tree of Knowledge
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Bill Viola :: The Tree of Knowledge [1997]

The viewer enters a long, narrow corridor that ends with a wall-size projection screen on which a sapling tree can be seen. As the viewer progresses towards the screen, the changes in the tree become increasingly dramatic. Every step along the corridor is directly related to a moment temporally fusing the diurnal, annual and biological life cycle of a tree that is symbolic rather representative of a particular species. At any point in their linear but reversible path, visitors can stop in their tracks and freeze-frame a moment in the tree's development. The tree, with a design that incorporates all seasonal markers, symbolizes the various stages of life. The corridor functions as a metaphor for the constraints and obligations for the human path through life.

Type of Work
Interactive Environment

· Concept and realization: Bill Viola
· Application software and tree animation sequence: Bernd Lintermann
· Implementation tracking software: André Bernhard
· Production: ZKM | Institute for Visual Media in co-operation with the Institut für Prozessrechnertechnik und Robotik at Karlsruhe University.

Pentium PC
Abekas Diskus Digital Disk Recorder
line doubler
Sick Optics PLS Proximity laser scanner
data projector
projection screen, 2.4x3.2m

custom tracking software by Peter Weckesser, René Graf and André Bernhardt

corridor: length 16m, width 2.4, height 3.2m

· Institute for Visual Media

Presentations [selected]


image: »crossing the corridor«
© Bill Viola

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