Digital Tree
Leeds Beckett University - MA Art & Design and BA Graphic Arts & Design students, with Alan Dunn, from 15 May 2018

Digital video animation, 45 mins.

Responding to the extreme vertical format of the screens at Platform and the building's geographical significance to Leeds and beyond, MA Art & Design and BA Graphic Arts & Design students from Leeds Beckett University developed the digital tree motif to represent growth, technology, recycling and networking.

The content they developed includes footage of a specific eucalyptus tree at Leeds Beckett University's Landscape Resource Centre in Headingley and ink drawings made with a snapped branch from that very tree. Interspersed with these are graphic renderings of futuristic trains, electric trees, British rail maps, blossoming plants and solar systems. Between each section is a flickering list of real and imagined distances that people may travel to reach Platform, for example from the world's largest Data Centre in Langfang, the global seed vault in Svalbard or the centre of the earth.

The soundtrack is a collage of recordings, some created by attaching contact microphones to the eucalyptus tree and some made by students over the past ten years working with the world's leading sound recordist Chris Watson. These include sonic perspectives of Leeds never heard before with snippets from the canal, market, train station and arches.

Digital Tree was created by L6 Graphic Arts & Design students Harvey Steele, Nicole Duffy and Will Minns, L5 student Angus Evans and MA Art & Design student Christine Hinchliffe, working with lecturer Alan Dunn, who adds: 'The students researched the relationships between organic shapes and more geometric designs, including the manners in which Piet Mondrian's tree sketches morphed into his famous primary colour grids. With a nod to innovation, we are also pleased to be able to include, courtesy of the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, possibly the world's first ever cinematic footage of trees, created by Louis Le Prince in Roundhay Park in Leeds in 1888.'

This is the second work developed by students at Leeds Beckett University to be showcased on the screens at Platform, and it forms part of Bruntwood's ongoing support for emerging talent in Leeds.