Liverpool artwork of the week 32 – Arbores Laetae (Joyful Trees) by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in Liverpool Biennial
Launched on 20 August 2008, consisting of 17 vibrant hornbeam trees formally planted in a grid pattern, at the heart of this landscape three trees slowly rotate. In place of the familiar movement of shade according to the rotation of the earth around the sun, here shade migrates at an artificial speed, transforming the familiar patterns of the natural world into artificial creations.
Diller Scofidio + Renfro are well known for their interdisciplinary approach, fusing architecture and urban design with visual art, electronic media and performance. Founded in 1979 by Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, Charles Renfro joined the practice in 1997, and became partner in 2004. Their work marries rigorous critique with a playful iconoclasm. Their pavilion for the Swiss Expo in 2002, for example, was an elaborate play on the notion of spectacle. A building literally created out of hot air, the Blur Building floated like a giant cloud on the surface of a lake. Their retrospective exhibition at the Whitney included the site specific installation Mural (2003), in which a robotic arm mounted on a track was programmed to periodically drill holes in the perfect white cube space. Their recently unveiled Boston ICA building enshrines the act of viewing, creating a space that is conducive to viewing on multiple levels, both the art forms it contains, and the environment it inhabits.