Step inside of Hollow, a new installation by artist Katie Paterson and architects Zeller & Moye, and you enter an immersive space home to over 10,000 unique species of trees. This impressive collection—which spans millions of years—is displayed as rectangular wooden rods that hang from the ceiling like stalactites. Taking over three years to complete, the compilation includes diverse samples from Japan, California, Mexico, Massachusetts, and many other places.
Hollow offers a fascinating look at world history in a fresh and modern way. “[There are] fossils of unfathomable age, and fantastical trees such as Cedar of Lebanon, the Phoenix Palm, and the Methuselah tree, thought to be one of the oldest trees in the World at 4,847 years of age,” Paterson explained, “as well as a railroad tie taken from the Panama Canal Railway, which claimed the lives of between 5,000 to 10,000 workers over its 50 year construction, and wood is salvaged from the remnants of the iconic Atlantic City boardwalk devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.”
In addition to its museum-like quality, Hollow is a place of retreat. Among its immense variety of wood textures and sizes, there are small ceiling openings that let in natural light and mimic a tranquil forest canopy.
The inviting artwork is permanently located at the University of Bristol in the city’s Royal Fort Garden. It was organized by an arts group called Situations and signifies the opening of the University’s Life Sciences Building. Alongside Hollow is Treebank, a companion website and public participation project developed by Situations and BBC four.