Artificial Arboretum​ is a speculative establishment dedicated to the preservation, study, and public display of “photogrammetrees” found in Google Earth. The space houses a collection of diverse species harvested from their rendered world using the same tools and techniques that created them, and safeguards them for future access. The arboretum serves as a living record of our planet. The scans capture not only the geometry of the trees, but also their age, seasons, and shadows. As peripheral artifacts in a process meant to map hard infrastructure in our urban environments, they remind us that organic matter remains elusive to the virtual world. These trees—for all their wonderful deformities—are endangered by the speed and vision of urban development and technological progress. Their data lives under the mercy and politics of each software update, and in a society that strives for pixel-perfect digital commodities, these photogrammetrees will soon be phased out for ones indistinguishable from reality.

BY  Jacqueline Wu (US)

Jacqueline Wu is a designer, artist, and researcher working at the interface between digital technologies and the physical world. Her current practice is embedded in speculative design and explores unconventional methods of data collection, digital fabrication, and processes of transition and translation between modes of existence.