Created and Sold by DRIFT

Art Curation by DRIFT seen at Burning Man 2017 - Tree of Ténéré

Tree of Ténéré

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Item details

An ancient story tells us that the isolated Tree of Ténéré, only to be found in the Sahara desert, had a ceremonial function to bring people together for ritual and rest. DRIFT explores new ways of connecting people to each other and earth, by using innovative technology. As seen more often in their work, the artists shed light on the tension between the real and the virtual world.

Advanced software allows us to simulate the entire natural growth of a tree, considering all environmental factors, such as the incidence of light, buildings, and gravity. Rather natural intelligence, than artificial intelligence makes it possible to produce the structure of a tree in a digital setting. Thus, the art installation at the physical location will be a close representation of a potential reality. The speed, intensity, and color of the light react to the public and the surrounding. Once again, there will be a place where people come together to pursue emotional resonance.

Materials: steel, aluminum, fibers tube, hand-sculpted polyester, paint, plastics, LEDs and embedded electronics.

The Tree of Ténéré is a partnership between Zachary Smith, Mark C. Slee, and Studio Drift. It debuted at BURNING MAN 2017


Context & Credits


Meet the Creator

DRIFT explores the relationship between nature, technology and mankind. Their working process involves unique craftsmanship and critical engagement.

Dutch artists Lonneke Gordijn (1980) and Ralph Nauta (1978) founded studio DRIFT in 2007. With a multi-disciplinary team of 64, they work on experiential sculptures, installations and performances.

DRIFT manifests the phenomena and hidden properties of nature with the use of technology in order to learn from the Earth’s underlying mechanisms and to re-establish our connection to it.

With both depth and simplicity, DRIFT’s works of art illuminate parallels between man-made and natural structures through deconstructive, interactive, and innovative processes. The artists raise fundamental questions about what life is and explore a positive scenario for the future.

All individual artworks have the ability to transform spaces. The confined parameters of a museum or a gallery does not always do justice to a body of work, rather it often comes to its potential in the public sphere or through architecture. DRIFT brings people, space and nature on to the same frequency, uniting audiences with experiences that inspire a reconnection to our planet.

DRIFT has realised numerous exhibitions and projects around the world. Their work has been exhibited at Victoria & Albert Museum (2009, 2015); Met Museum (2010); Stedelijk Museum (2018); UTA Artist Space (2019); Garage Museum (2019); Mint Museum (2019); Biennale di Venezia (2015); Pace Gallery (2017) amongst others. Their work is held in the permanent collections of the LACMA; Rijksmuseum; SFMOMA; Stedelijk Museum; and Victoria & Albert Museum. In 2014, DRIFT was awarded the Arte Laguna Prize, Venice.