10 Ringed Trees by Artists Ackroyd & Harvey Planted at Entrance to London's Olympic Park

ten artistic trees to be plantedODA/Promo image

As the London 2012 Olympics draw nearer, new announcements come all the time. This week we hear that 10 trees at the entrance to the Olympic Park will be adorned by artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey.

The leafy parts of the trees with be surrounded with engraved metal rings, six metres in diameter and weighing almost half a ton. The rings will be engraved as a memorial to the games.

Ackroyd and Harvey said: 'Trees mark the passing of time through their yearly ring growth. The artwork will transform as the seasons change, reflecting the evolving nature of the Olympic Park. The trees embrace metal rings which have been engraved with a record of the site’s history, held in branches for successive decades to come.'

The trees were planted last month (couldn't they have done it earlier?) and are expected to reach 18 metres by the Games which are only 7 months away. Only in England can a tree grow so quickly. They will include a red oak, silver lime and common ash and will provide a stately entrance to the Olympic Park.

Later an oak will be planted. It has excellent provenance, having been grown "from an acorn collected from the tree that Baron De Coubertin planted to thank the citizens of Much Wenlock for inspiring the founding of the modern Olympic Games."

In the spring, a large ring from either bronze or stainless steel will be placed on the crown of the trees. Then the branches and ring will fuse together over time.

ten artistic trees to be plantedODA/Promo image

As for the rings: they will be six metres in diameter and engraved on the inside with words that reflect the history of the area; drawing on sources such as the Museum of London, and archaeological and ecological studies. The last tree, the English Oak, will have a bronze ring inscribed with local residents’ recollections of the area.

Things get rather artistic once the rings are on. Apparently "the shadow cast by this ring will be permanently captured by being inlayed onto the ground in bronze, and each year the shadow and ring will momentarily align to commemorate the a significant date and time during the London 2012 Games."

Putting aside all the artistic mumbo-jumbo; this will be one of the largest parks to be created in Europe in modern times, and certainly the biggest one ever made for an Olympics. There will be 4,000 semi-mature trees, more than 300,000 wetland plants and more than 10 football fields’ worth of nectar-rich annual and perennial meadows designed and sown to flower during the Games.

The artists Ackroyd and Harvey are a great choice for the project. They have been doing art that is environmentally related for years.

Previous pieces have included covering the exterior walls of the National Theatre in London with grass and travelling to the Arctic, as members of a Cape Farewell project in 2004.

There they collected a polar bear bone and reduced it to carbon graphite and turned it into a man-made diamond.

10 Ringed Trees by Artists Ackroyd & Harvey Planted at Entrance to London's Olympic Park
The leafy parts of the artistic trees, celebrating the London 2012 Olympics, with be encircled by engraved metal rings.

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