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This Exquisite Forest – Project by Aaron Koblin and Chris Milk

This Exquisite Forest 04 copy

This Exquisite Forest is a new collaborative project by Aaron Koblin and Chris Milk produced by Google and Tate. Following the opening party last night at the Tate Modern where we had a chance to get a first look at the project, This Exquisite Forest is now live and awaiting your contributions.

In the tradition of collaborative projects between Aaron and Chris (3 Dreams Of BlackThe Wilderness DowntownThe Johnny Cash Project), “This Exquisite Forest” is primarily a crowd sourced animation drawings tool which combines drawings into ever growing trees. Each animated drawing is a branch to a tree and each response is yet another branch to the same tree. Someone may start a drawing, you may respond to it, making the tree grow larger.

The installation at the Tate Modern includes a room with projections on each wall, showing a tree or two per wall. Each tree can be browsed using the provided infra-red pointer and similar to the website when pointer is located over a branch, animation stored in this branch is shown. Likewise, at the main entrance of the Turbine Hall, visitors are greeted by two projections at the end of the ramp, showing a selection of trees from the archive. Visitors can also create drawings on the third floor of the gallery using installed Wacom tablets.

The team behind the project tells CAN, the selection of trees shown in the Tate have been “approved” by the Tate whereas the website contains all other trees “grown” by the users around the world.

The project makes use of several HTML5 features in Google Chrome. The HTML5 Canvas element is showcased in the site’s drawing tool. Canvas is hardware-accelerated in Google Chrome, offloading rendering to the GPU and reducing CPU load, which improves performance. The Web Audio API provides music playback when the user views an animation. Music is dynamically generated for each tree based on the input of the contributors. Many of the project’s styling and transitions utilize CSS3. All animations are played back using the HTML5 video player.

Here are some of our favorite featured artists: Casey ReasOlafur EliassonMiroslaw Balka and Aaron Koblin himself.

Try it for yourself at

Aaron Koblin | Chris Milk | Tate

  • This is a really awesome idea but… pretty hard to use, and I am a designer/animator that knows code. I lost interest in the site when it took too long to create something and the navigation was frustrating, shouldn’t that be a concern? Do I just have horrible ADD?

  • DesignerD

    You definitely have ADD. This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.