Tree Growing Trees
diameter 25 m
Catsheuvel, Den Haag
52.091098855988, 4.2816462960774 View on map
Halfway up the Catsheuvel there is a monument. A memorial in honour of all victims of chemical weapons. It was made to mark the tenth anniversary of the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW for short), which is located a little further down the road. However, there is no plaque or commemorative plaque to be seen, let alone a large statue on a clear plinth. Here, artist Voebe de Gruyter has devised a whole new kind of virtual and rather abstract monument.
Together with DS landschapsarchitecten from Amsterdam, a circle was designed as a place for the monument. Natural elements were incorporated into it, referring to the dune landscape and anticipating the future layout of the entire surrounding area. In this circle, De Gruyter built her monument from three trees: a real tree - a maple - interwoven with a solar tree - a solar panel with a webcam - and as the third tree, a virtual tree. The latter is not visible on the street, but can be found on www.thismeldingtree.org. There, as a visitor, you can contribute to this infinitely growing 'tree'. In the kerbstone, the following can be read in seven languages: 'This constituent tree is in a fixed state, below freezing point. By light particles from someone's gaze, it can thaw, partly melt with it'.
In her art practice, De Gruyter investigates how elementary particles behave. She assumes that the smallest particles of everything around us can be loaded with thoughts. For her, a piece of chewing gum contains the text that the chewer was thinking at that moment. If you translate these principles to the OPCW monument, you could say that the tree breathes in oxygen and breathes out carbon dioxide, that the solar panel turns sunlight into energy that feeds the webcam, which in turn picks up the view of the observer and transposes it to the website. Via the site, you dive deeper and deeper into the solar panel and finally, when you arrive at the smallest particles, you can charge them with your thoughts. Simply by registering as a visitor.
Following a 2021/2022 redesign of Cats Hill, the pavement near the monument has been slightly modified. As a result, the sidewalk in front of the monument looks slightly different than in the photos.