Hybrid Botany

Hybrid Botany utilizes an ongoing creative process, which connects traditional bonsai techniques with algorithmic design and 3D printing. The process began with a raw tree trunk on the one hand, and an algorithm that simulates natural tree growth on the other.The algorithm produced a three dimensional model, which served as a mathematical prediction of the manner in which the tree can grow. Parts from this model were printed out, and attached to the raw tree trunk using a system of printed supports.

As the tree grows, the printed parts serve as a template, and guide the design decisions used to develop the tree as a bonsai. However, since the tree’s actual growth is random, and it does not react in the mathematically perfect manner predicted by the algorithm, there is also an inherent conflict between the manner that the computer simulates a tree’s growth, and the tree’s actual growth in the real world. In this case, the role played by man and the application of traditional craft, is to mediate between the two worlds and try to synthesize an aesthetic that highlights the beauty of each.* Bonsai is a transformative, process-oriented artform of sculpting with living trees. Originating in China and Japan, bonsai initially sought to imitate landscapes and natural scenery, transporting them into the urban environment.

The use of a living medium – which continually grows, develops and changes serves as a source of formative and conceptual inspiration for bonsai, but also imbues it with unique technical attributes. First and foremost, dependence on the medium is absolute – the artist cannot impose himself on the tree, and it is the tree that dictates the progress, direction and duration of the work. The creative process unfolds with the tree’s recurring growth cycles, which add new elements to the work while changing the existing ones. This reliance on natural growth cycles, governed by the changing seasons, requires persistent work over many years, during which time the tree itself is in constant flux. Thus, a bonsai tree can be considered a dynamic artwork, oscillating continuously between random growth and intentional design.



Collaborators: Ofer Grunwald
Commission by: Benyamini Contemporary Ceramic Center, Tel Aviv