The idea of the tree by Mischer’Traxler

Published on February 12, 2013

‘The idea of a tree’ is an autonomous  production process which combines natural input with a mechanical process. It is driven by solar energy and translates the intensity of the sun through a mechanical apparatus into one object a day.
The outcome reflects the various sunshine conditions that occur during this day. Like a tree the object becomes a three dimensional recording of its process and time of creation.
The machine ‘Recorder One’ starts producing when the sun rises and stops when the sun settles down. After sunset, the finished object can be ‘harvested’.
It slowly grows the object, by pulling threads through a colouring device, a glue basin and finally winding them around a mould.


The length/height of the resulting object depends on the sun hours of the day. The thickness of the layer and the colour is depending on the amount of sun-energy. (more sun = thicker layer and paler colour; less sun=thinner layer and darker colour).
The process is not just reacting on different weather situations, but also on shadows happening in the machine’s direct surrounding. Each cloud and each shadow becomes important for the look of the final object.


Various the ‘idea of a tree’ – objects are possible. The concept of introducing natural input into a serial production process suggests a new way of looking at locality. This ‘industrialized locality’, is not so much about local culture, craftsmanship or resources, instead it deals with climatic and environmental factors of the process’ surrounding. On a series of objects you can  tell somehow the place of production. On the equator, for example, the objects would always have the same height/length, whilst in North- and Middle Europe, the seasons help shaping the objects. In countries with a lot of rain the objects would be darker and thinner whilst in sunnier regions the objects would be paler but thicker. For us ‘the idea of a tree’ is an idealistic vision on how machines combined with nature can produce great results, – an idea of industrial halls with daylight and manufacturing within natural rhythms. ‘The idea of  a tree’ – objects are the outcomes from “recorder one”. ‘The idea of  a tree’ is a production process which uses the natural input of the sun with a mechanical process. This creates unique objects that represent the sun’s intensity of the day and place of production.


The length/height of the resulting object depends on the sunhours of the day.

winter = shorter objects
summer = longer objects

The thickness of the layer and the colour is depending on the amount of sun-energy.

more sun = thicker layer and paler colour
less  sun = thinner layer and darker colour


The correlation between input and output makes the changes visual and readable. The product becomes a three-dimensional ‘photograph’ of the time and the place where it is produced.
After one day of winding the cotton structure can be ‘harvested’ off the machine. A few days, later the dried piece is finished by hand and a label, telling day and place of production, is placed on the evening side of the object.



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