Fabbrica del Vapore, Milan, 2016
Chiostro di San Francesco, Bergamo, 2016

I love Paul Klee’s use of colour and abstract shapes. His work appears to me both graphic and organic, without the two concepts clashing. Pictures that look like grown instead of drawn. What if Klee was born a hundred years later? Would he be a generative artist?

protoTree is a respectful tribute based on these considerations and on the study of the picture “Scheidung abends” (1922).

This fits with the fascination I feel for the tree as a living being and as a computer data structure, for its abstract representations, graphic and functional. A bridge toward the coded language
of road signs. Junctions depicted as trees of directions, order and chaos. Even the arrows
on a billboard sometimes seem spontaneously grown, not drawn.



protoTree therefore is a tree that lives in a virtual space, a projection that depicts a canvas. The viewer interactively stimulates growth. The graphical and geometrical tree’s structure is declared, the tiles that compose its body are imperfect geometric shapes, with traces of brush strokes or irregular runny color.

The tiles overlap additively and reminds of water colors. The branches end in arrows, reference to the dynamics of Klee and to the language of wayfinding. The growth algorithm is designed to underly the harmony between graphic and organic that I see in Klee. Graphic because the structure of growth is based on the addition of new discrete elements. Organic because the new elements, although discrete, are born and grow smoothly. In the growth of the tree the eye does not capture any solution of continuity. Tile colors are determined sampling digitized Klee works. The succession of colors in the sequence
of the tiles is determined by a pseudorandom algorithm which explores the painting. At each fork the algorithm chooses a different direction along which gather colorimetric information.




The visitor interacts by watering the tree, using a modified water hose gun. The interaction model and technology have been developed for the video installation protoTypo (2013), similar but based on the metaphor of the paintgun. protoTree is an evolution of the same concept. Interaction built on the dialogue between trivial, solid everyday objects and projected visual entities.

To represent once more the dualism between utilitarian technology and visual research.


Milano, Fabbrica del Vapore, 2016

Video interview, thanks to Studio Azzurro and Alberto Danelli.