PLEASE NOTE: On August 1, 2014, This Exquisite Forest was closed to new submissions. We hope you continue to enjoy the existing animations. Thank you.


What is This Exquisite Forest?

This Exquisite Forest is an online collaborative animation project. From 2012 - 2014, visitors to this site could use an online drawing tool to create a short animation. Other visitors could then build off of that animation, resulting in branching, ever-evolving narratives resembling trees. Chris Milk, Aaron Koblin and Google’s Data Arts Team produced the project with Tate.

How does the project relate to exquisite corpse?

Exquisite corpse is a creative exercise in Surrealism in which several people compose a sentence or drawing by contributing one word or section at a time. It inspired the name This Exquisite Forest.

There is a difference however, between this project and exquisite corpse. In the latter, people don’t know what others have contributed, whereas in this project contributors explicitly know what others are doing and even follow specific instructions from the creator of each tree.

What technology was used to build this site?

The site was built for the Google Chrome browser in HTML5 and JavaScript. We integrated a number of Google products and services, including Google App Engine and Google Cloud Storage. For more details, please see the Technology Section.


How do I find my animations?

If you contributed an animation before August 1, 2014, you can find it by logging in with your Google account and clicking on your user name at the top right corner of the site.

Why does this site include a Creative Commons license?

In the spirit of collaborative creation, work submitted to this site falls under a Creative Commons 3.0 license (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike). This allows other users to share and adapt your work freely.


Why do only some trees have music?

Tree creators determined whether or not their tree includes music. As a result, some trees will have music and others do not.


What does it mean if a tree is “curated”?

All submissions to curated trees are reviewed by the tree curators, who include the tree creator and anyone whom they have nominated to curate their tree. The curators accept submissions entirely at their own discretion.

Curators will be looking at the quality of the submission, how closely the submitter followed the artist’s instructions, and how closely the submission fits with the tree’s existing animations. All of the trees in the Tate Modern are curated. Submissions with offensive content will be removed.

Tate Modern

What is Tate’s involvement in this project?

Tate approached Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin to devise a collaborative drawing project that could bring artists, Tate audiences, and the wider arts community together to co-create. Artists from Tate’s collection started the site’s initial trees, and at Tate Modern, the project was presented from July 2012 - July 2013 as a physical experience with large-scale projections of the trees and drawing stations for visitors to make their own contributions.

When and where was the physical installation?

The physical installation was located in the collection galleries on Level 3 at Tate Modern, and was open for one year beginning on July 23, 2012. Digital drawing stations with Wacom Cintiq24 tablets were open to visitors who wished to contribute near the Level 3 cafe.

Was my animation in Tate Modern?

Over the course of the 12 month installation, Tate Modern featured the trees started by Tate artists. If you contributed to one of these trees, your work did appear on the walls at Tate Modern.


Why doesn’t this site work in my browser?

The project was created for the latest Google Chrome browser. For the best experience of the site, you can download it here. A fast computer and broadband internet connection are also recommended.