Mooney Goes Wild rescheduled to air this Sunday 5th of November at 22.00

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Due to unforeseen circumstances RTE Radio 1’s Mooney Goes Wild team had to reschedule the interview with the Trinity Trees Exhibition team. The interview will air instead this Sunday 5th of November between 22.00 and 23.00.

Tune in to hear each of the Trinity College Trees team talking about their areas of expertise all of which came together to produce the exhibition currently on display in Trinity College Dublin until the 12th of November 2017.

Installed artworks: Day 4 – The Plane Trees

The Plane Tree artworks are installed in both trees.

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Close up photograph of one of the Plane Tree artworks.

An early sample programme from one of the plane trees uncovered some interesting irregular patterns in the cellular structure. As both trees are related and suffer from the same ongoing fungal infection contracted during their infancy this type of patterning is not unusual. See images below and David Taylor’s post on this topic.

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As the premise behind the artworks created by Hassett was to focus on the connection between the two plane trees, Clodagh Dooley harvested some samples from the second plane tree so we could compare and contrast the cellular patterns between the two trees.

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Hassett chose to make two replicas from one of the numerous large protruding nodules that form on the lower trunk. These nodules are regularly extruded from the tree as a result of the ongoing infection. Below are images taken of these nodules on the tree trunk.

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To create these artworks a two piece mould was taken of one of the fallen nodules and wax was poured into the mould to make the artworks.  See below a slide show of the many stages involved in the creation of the wax works.

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Interest in microscopic imagery of the haphazard cell structures from both infected barks led to the artist to include a representative pattern of cellular ‘holes’ in both wax works. To highlight their connection Hassett used imagery from the right tree in the artwork designed for the left and visa versa for the artwork installed in the right tree. See below SEM imagery that is represented in the artworks. 

In addition both wax pieces were deliberately installed opposite each other further heightening the connection and unique nature of these two trees. See images below.

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The artist chose wax as the material for this piece because of it’s ability to transform in response to environmental factors i.e. The heat of the sun will warp the shape and alter the imagery carved into the wax nodules as infection has altered the normal cell structure of these two trees.

Finally to follow is a slide show with images of the two final pieces installed in the trees.

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Installed artworks: Day 1 – The Oregon Maple

The Oregon Maple was the most difficult piece to install.  See images above of both David Hackett and I in a Cherry Picker in the middle of the Oregon Maple tree about nine meters from the ground. We had to organise the Cherry Picker twice, once to reach the highest ‘tendon’ and the second time for the lower two. Of course we will also have to book it one final time to deinstall the pieces on the 29th of October.

Images below are photographs taken of the Oregon Maple artwork fully installed during the first week of the exhibition.

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The images below were take of the Oregon Maple artwork two weeks into the exhibition but before ex Hurricane Ophelia struck Ireland.

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I am glad to say the artwork survived the strong winds largely because of the stretchy nature of the fabric. I will post more images of how the artwork looks post Ophelia before the exhibition ends on October 29th.

Click on the following link to see the information, map and images that are to be found on the stand in front of the Oregon Maple.  Click here to see the Oregon Maple stand information

Behind the artworks – pair of Plane trees

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The pair of Plane trees, (Platanus orientalis) is situated opposite the Law Library in Trinity College Dublin.  See above image above.  

Platanus trees are tall, reaching 30–50 m (98–164 ft) in height and are native to the Northern Hemisphere. Plane trees shed their bark every two to three years getting rid of certain amounts of pollution with the old bark. It is for this reason that they are frequently planted in urban areas.

This pair of trees are genetically related. As a result of an infection during their infancy both trees have an unusual lumpy bark and thick trunks. The lumpy protrusions on the bark are called nodules and continue to grow and regularly fall off the infected lower trunk.

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These nodules were the starting point in the development of the plane tree artworks. Initially Hassett collected a large fallen nodule (see image above of the nodule used) and made a two-piece mould from it. Coloured wax was poured into the mould and expanding foam was added to the interior as a strengthener. Two replica wax works were then created.

Interest in microscopic imagery of the haphazard cell structures (see images above) from both infected barks led to the artist to include a representative pattern of cellular ‘holes’ in both wax works. She used imagery from the right tree in the artwork designed for the left and visa versa for the artwork installed in the right tree. In addition both wax pieces were deliberately installed opposite each other further heightening the connection and unique nature of these two trees.

Of note: the artist spent many hours researching and attempting in vain to develop a viable bioplastic recipe to use in the creation of these works. Wax was the material of choice in the end as it will be interesting to see how the sticky surface and structure of the wax pieces will morph and alter in response to its environs over the course of the exhibition.  

Images of the artworks in situ will be posted after the opening of the Exhibition on the 29th of September 2017.  

Behind the artworks – the Snake Bark

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Snake bark maples include 18–21 species, and are mostly found in eastern Asia. Snake bark maples are most easily distinguished from other maples by their distinctive bark, smooth when young and usually patterned with vertical alternating dark and light stripes as the tree ages.

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See image above, the Snake Bark tree,  which is situated opposite the Berkeley Library.  

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The main inspiration for the artwork that will be installed in this tree was the pod-like structure, unearthed during the microscopic imaging process. See image above.  

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Also included in the artwork are representations of the oblong lenticles, which are breathing holes visible to the naked eye on the green and white striped bark.  See image above.  

The artist was also inspired by Japanese street culture from the nineties represented in books like Fruits and Fresh Fruits.

The artwork created by Hassett is made from neoprene, lycra and lycra netting.  Images of the final artwork in situ will be posted after the opening on September 29th 2017.  

Performance by Olivia Hassett – part of TCD European Researchers Night 2017

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Image: Between You and Me, solo performance by Olivia Hassett, part of ON THE SPOT. in RUA RED, 2014.

As part of the official opening of the Trinity College Trees project Olivia Hassett will perform in response to the Oregon Maple in the main square. This performance will be included in the events celebrating European Researchers Night (Probe) in Trinity College Dublin on September 29th 2017.  Exact times to be confirmed. 

If you would like to keep up to date with this event and many more happening as part of European Researchers Night check out the official Probe event facebook page

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Yew and Chemotherapy drug Taxol

 

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Certain compounds found in the bark of yew trees were discovered by Wall and Wani in 1967 to have efficacy as anti-cancer agents. The precursors of the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel (taxol) was later shown to be synthesized easily from extracts of the leaves of European yew, which is a much more renewable source than the bark of the Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia) from which they were initially isolated. This ended a point of conflict in the early 1990s; many environmentalists, including Al Gore, had opposed the destructive harvesting of Pacific yew for paclitaxel cancer treatments. Docetaxel can then be obtained by semi-synthetic conversion from the precursors.

Paclitaxel chemotherapy drug from yew

Paclitaxel is in the taxane family of medications. (PTX), sold under the brand name Taxol among others, is a chemotherapy medication used to treat a number of types of cancer. This includes ovarian cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, Kaposi sarcoma, cervical cancer and panc cancer. It works by interference with the normal function of microtubules during cell division. It is given by injection into a vein. There is also an albumin bound formulation.

Paclitaxel was first isolated in 1971 from the Pacific Yew and approved for medical use in 1993. It is on the World Health Organisation’s List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system. The wholesale cost in the developing world is about 7.06 to 13.48 USD per 100 mg vial. This amount in the United Kingdom costs the NHS about 66.85 pounds. It is now manufactured by cell culture.