Vivid Sydney – Urban tree

Vivid Sydney, MLC building

Vivid Sydney transforms Sydney into a wonderland of ‘light art’ sculptures, innovative installations and grand-scale projections for all to enjoy – for free.

Before your very eyes, a colossal tree seeds, sprouts, and rapidly spreads – until the entire MLC building has been colonised by its twisting branches.

As you stand in the urban landscape, what you once knew as solid seems to vanish, as if the concrete structures were an apparition that only temporarily held the natural environment at bay.

Urban Tree Project is an architecturally mapped digital projection, transforming the MLC building into a magnificent living tree within a dense urban environment. The installation explores themes and questions relating to urban lifestyles, the impact of high-density living on the natural environment, and our very human need for green space.

Out of the darkness, the MLC building is transformed. A tree seeds. Multiple shoots germinate. Reaching towards the sky, their slender trunks form a small stand of trees. The trees thicken, becoming increasingly entangled and intertwined. Their branches push ever upward, gradually forming a canopy above. The small trees merge, and as the branches mature, the MLC façade is transformed into one majestic tree.

Leaves flutter in a virtual breeze. Like the dwellers and vehicles that bring energy and movement to a large city, beetles, bugs, centipedes and birds emerge out of the tree, scurry about their business, and then vanish again into the canopy. The tree, like the city we know so well, teems with life. The tree’s denizens interact with their living home and with each other, rhythmically and randomly over the course of a day. A symbiotic ecosystem is created, amongst the previously lifeless concrete and glass.

Night falls. Like cars traversing the arterial routes of a nocturnal metropolis, glowing creatures light up pathways as they scuttle through the tree. As the night comes to a close, one by one, the lights go out, and you are left to contemplate the links between nature and your city, and the combat between nature and artifice.