Tree of Transformation | Burning Man Honorarium

Artists | Ryan Elmendorf  + Nick Geurts
Completed | 2016
Materials | Reclaimed piano, stainless steel, steelpans, LEDs
Dimensions | 18’ x 18’ x 18′
Funding | Burning Man Honorarium, crowdfunding
Engineering | re:engineering + yetiweurks

The Tree of Transformation is the second in a series of 20ft tall interactive musical trees. It takes the form of a twisting steel pipe tree trunk sprouting from a full-size upright piano. Three main limbs branch out to form a canopy and support nine steelpans with a four octave range. When the keys of the piano are pressed, solenoids are actuated to strike the pans in the correct location to play the corresponding note. Because some notes overlap between pans, there are a total of 99 solenoids but only 48 notes, which means that some notes will have multiple pans being struck resulting in a rich, complex sound, much like a steelpan orchestra. As you approach the piece at night, you will only see the piano by way of a piano lamp which illuminates the keyboard, and a piano bench which sits in front of the piano inviting you to play. When a note is played, each striker also has a high intensity white led light that flashes, lighting up the branches and pans in a sequence following the notes being played.

Installed |
August, 2016 @ Burning Man, Black Rock City
September, 2018 @ Civic Center Park, Denver

Learn More |

Go Play the “Tree of Transformation” in Civic Center Park