Indoor/ outdoor tube sculpture

As part of the exhibition inside the Parsons Building Olivia Hassett also placed another of the layered paper tube sculptures in the exhibition area. Instead of a shorter tube like in the outdoor installation she made a much longer thinner tube that snaked up the wall and over the partition and disappeared into the space behind the exhibition area.

The idea with this piece was to let it seem like the long thin tube was continuous and that it was possibly connected to the other tubes in the outdoor installation. In this case it was an illusion but it highlighted Hassett’s continued interest in the notions of the inside/ outside and liminal spaces in the Parsons Building.

Parsons Installation

Image take of root segment

The installation of tube-like sculptures embracing the trunk of the Oregon maple were modeled on scanning electron microscope images taken by Colin Reid of the microscopic tubes that carried the water and nutrients up the Oregon Maple that fell in 2018.

Comprised of laminated layers of different materials the tubes included a layer of various images printed onto paper from the numerous scientific studies undertaken by David Taylor and Tim Hone, a layer of macerated plant material saved from the fallen trees was over laid on top of the imagery partly obscuring the research. These layers were then embedded under layers of acid free tissue. Finally the structure was coated in a green coloured unique bio plastic protective layer developed in conjunction with Conor Buckley.

All of the tubes were construted on top of a wire armiture that was altered in size and shape each time to ensure that all of the tubes had a different shape. At the time of installation the artist placed each tube in a circle so as to surround the tree trunk. The tubes were held in place for the duration of the exhibition by gardening wire.

These tubes were deliberately made from multiple laminated layers of paper. The installation was designed to alter and change during the exhibition in TCD. In fact each tube buckled, bent and collapsed in different ways mirroring the imagery and elements of the research being undertaken by David Taylor.

The artist was delighted to see the installation alter in such an interesting way during the exhibition. Each week she visited the exhibition and documented the change to the installation. I will add some of the images from these changes in a later blog post.

Last chance to see….

This week is the last opportunity to see the Trinity College Exhibition in both the Museum Building and Parson’s Building on the main Trinity College Dublin campus. I will be de-installing the work this Friday morning.

I will be sad to take the work away as it feels like the end of a very long journey with the majestic Oregon Maples of TCD. On the other hand we really enjoyed engaging with the decendant Oregon Maple growing through the Parsons Building.

You never know where the Trinity College Trees Team will focus their attention next!

Exhibition open to the public until 3rd May 2019

Embrittled | Resilient is a collaborative science, art and conservation exhibition inspired by the majestic Oregon Maples of Trinity College Dublin. Spread over three venues on the main campus it opened to the public on the 28th of March 2019 with a series of talks by David Hackett, David Taylor, Tim Hone and Olivia Hassett outlining the background to their respective areas of research. Olivia Hassett also created a solo performance piece with the Oregon Maple in the Parsons Building.

Solo Performance with Oregon Maple on first floor of the Parson’s Building

See the map and three downloadable information pdf’s below, which highlight the three exhibition venues on campus and give you a bit of information behind the works in each venue.

Map showing the three exhibition venues

The work will be available to view during normal business hours up until the 3rd of May 2019.

To whet your appetite I have created a short slideshow of a few images from the various works sited across the three venues on the main Trinity College Campus. See below.

In the coming days I will highlight individual pieces, give some background information and will post more images. The best way to see the work is of course to come in and see the exhibitions!

Behind the performance

Sculptural installation in the Oregon Maple in Library Square, 2017

During the 2017 exhibition Olivia Hassett created a tendon-like sculptural installation in one of the large Oregon Maples, which collapsed last June. These yellow lycra fabric pieces mirrored the lines of the cable bracing wire system that helped support some of the heavier branches of the tree. Imagery from SEM images taken by Clodagh Dooley of the internal cellular structure of the tree was printed by the artist onto the lycra fabric before it was stretched between the branches.

2017 solo performance Olivia Hassett, lycra sculptural tendon and Oregon Maple

For the 2019 exhibition Olivia decided to re engage with the ‘lycra tendon sculptures’ in another solo performance this time with the Oregon Maple embedded in the Parson’s building. Hassett used two of the tendon-like pieces during the solo performance work that formed part of the Trinity College Trees Exhibition launch event.

Hassett began the performance draped in the fabric works from 2017. The performance took place in the external first floor part of the Parson’s building extension.

An important part of the performance included the attaching and stretching of the fabric pieces from the podium of the building to and around the trunk of the Oregon Maple tree that is embedded and surrounded by the building itself. The connection between the building and the tree and the support provided by the stretched fabric was only possible during the performance and for a short period after.

The main focus of this performative work was Hassett’s continued engagement with water retaining gel as a material. As we know water and the lack of it was highlighted as being one of the key concerns for the trees of TCD. In actual fact David Hackett mentioned that adding water retaining gel to the soil of some of the trees showing signs of dehydration was one of the options open to the grounds staff to help keep the trees healthy. Having used this material before in previous performances Hassett was used to working with and was quite familiar with it’s transformative properties. When fully engorged with water the crystals weigh up to 100 times more than in their original crystalline form. The process of fast hydration and the slow return of the water to the soil is one that can occur numerous times over the life of the material, which is estimated to be about three years.

When Hassett began to workshop and think about what elements she wanted to engage with performatively during this exhibition water retaining gel was the obvious place to start. At the beginning of the performance last week she lifted in and placed two soft plastic buckets half filled with the gel beside the tree on the first floor. She then proceeded to slowly drop, squeeze and deposit the gel onto the grating that surrounds, protects and allows rain to percolate through to the roots of the Oregon Maple tree on the ground floor. Over a period of ten minutes or so Hassett continued to drop and walk on the mounds of water retaining gel forcing the material to seep and fall through the grating onto and into the installation of tube sculptures, which enabled the gel to funnel down to the roots below.

Over the course of the exhibition this gel will continue to hydrate and dehydrate in response to the weather weakening and altering the installation of paper tubes surrounding the Oregon Maple. This transformation of material is of particular interest to the artist and is also replicated in the her choice of paper as a material for the installation of tubes. She does not know how the paper sculptures will fare during the course of the four week exhibition, maybe they will delaminate, buckle and fail as a result of repeated rain showers or maybe they will survive in some shape or other. This element of working with and adapting to the unknown in nature is therefore mirrored in a small way through the choice of her materials. More images to follow from the installation…

In addition to the paper tube installation already in place on the ground floor, Hassett has also added one of the fabric tendon-like yellow lycra pieces from the 2017 exhibition. For this installation she has stretched it from the floor up through the grating on the first floor and ending up enveloping the tree trunk above. More images to follow…..

Launch 28th March

header option 2 green option 2

Following on from the success of the collaborative art installation in eight trees on the TCD campus in 2017 the Trinity College Trees Team* are delighted to announce the opening of their newest collaborative exhibition embrittled | resilient

Open to the public during normal business hours April 1st – May 3rd 2019 this exhibition will launch with a series of events on Thursday 28th March.

  • 17.30 pm meet in the Museum Building (follow signs as the front door may be closed) to view the exhibition. David Taylor, David Hackett and Tim Hone will give a short introduction to some of the scientific and conservation information on display.
  • 18.00 pm meet in the Parsons Building to view the exhibition.
  • 18.15 pm solo art performance by Olivia Hassett beside the Oregon Maple outside the Parsons Building
  • 18.30 pm refreshments will be available in foyer area of the Parsons building.

Initially the the two 170 year old majestic Oregon Maples in Library Square were the focus of this exhibition until one fell and the other had to be cut down. One of the two remaining Oregon Maples, descendant from the fallen trees and also sited on campus, became the new focus for the project.

Embrittled | resilient will focus on factors which affect the strength and conservation of the trees, including water, wind and age. Located in both the Museum and Parsons buildings the exhibition will comprise of a mixture of art works, scientific research and information about the conservation of the Maples.

For more information on the 2017 and 2019 projects and exhibitions please visit trinitycollegetrees.wordpress.com Contact email: oliviahassett@gmail.com.

*Trinity College Trees Team: David Hackett, Olivia Hassett, David Taylor.

Consultants: Conor Buckley, Colin Reid and Tim Hone.

This project and exhibition was funded by the Trinity College Performing Arts Grant.

TCD Trees 2019 Press Release