Autonomous Tree is an art installation in which a tree is transformed to represent and act on the behalf of non-human living beings within established human systems of governance.
A non-human government agent critically assessing human behaviour
A tree, together with a human assistant, represents an ecological network that exists to protect and advocate for the best interest of non-human living beings. Physical symbolic artefacts and devices associated with human authority today are installed on and around the tree. These replicate the look and feel of certain industrial components utilised on autonomous vehicles and security apparatus today but are mock-ups made using digital fabrication techniques. Humans, subjected to the tree’s authority, can meet with the tree to receive an assessment of their behaviour. A digital interface, featuring an arboreal chat-bot, enables a conversational experience between the visiting humans and the tree—during which all humans are issued a fine as punishment for the collective harm they cause. The overall form and presentation of the installation captivates and draws attention to the tree’s hypothetical power and promotes people to reflect on the ecological world’s needs and challenges as well as their personal relationship with non-humans.