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A Million Years in One Installation: Hollow – a Wooden Cave

A million years of geological history are represented by the installation known as Hollow, which consists of more than 10,000 pieces of wood originating from diverse and unique species of tree. This impressive collection appears in the form of squared timbers which hang from the ceiling like stalactites in a dripstone cave. 

The creators of Hollow, artist Katie Paterson and the architects from Zeller & Moye, took three years to complete the work. The wood collection includes specimens from Japan, California, Mexico, Massachusetts and many other places.

“Here we have fossils of inconceivable age and fantastic trees such as cedar from Lebanon, the Phoenix palm and the Methuselah tree, which can live nearly 5,000 years and is among the longest-living trees,” says Paterson of her project. What’s more, there are pieces of wood used in the railway lines that run along the Panama Canal, whose construction took 50 years and cost thousands of workers their lives. Wood from the legendary Atlantic City Boardwalk, which was destroyed by the devastating Hurricane Sandy in 2012, is also represented. 

The installation has not only become a sort of tree museum, it also offers a retreat for visitors. Along with the immense range of wood textures and sizes, the ceiling has narrow openings that let in the light and thus simulate a peaceful sylvan atmosphere. 

Hollow is a permanent component of the university campus located in the Royal Fort Garden. The project was organized by the Situations artists’ group. Concurrently, the Treebank website was created, where visitors can interactively share their impressions and thoughts. The website was developed by Situations and BBC Four.

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