The trees of Finsbury Park bear witness to myriad happenings. Through deep time they wait, they watch, they grow - wiser, wilder….
In this new commission by HERVISIONS X Bones Tan Jones, the special stories of the trees are translated by three mystical sprites that live within the trees, becoming their voice.
Use the map to locate clusters of trees and identify the amulet wearers among them. With the app open, scan the symbol to summon the sprite and release a cascade of tree wisdom - time travelling to the roots of their having-beens into the twiggy tips of their future-becomings.
And as you crisscross the park, seeking out your next sprite, imagine the ley lines you draw onto and into the earth - and cast your own connective spell.Device Support
As well as a decent internet connection, to use this app your device will require access to a camera, and support using webgl. Most new devices support both of these. If yours doesn’t however, please don’t worry as our web app will detect this and direct you to our non-web AR experience.About the Team
Responsible for curating, commissioning, conceptualisation and research, HERVISIONS is a femme-focussed antidisciplinary curatorial agency supporting and promoting artists working across new and emergent technologies, and platforms with a strong focus on the intersection of art, technology and culture.
Bones Tan Jones
Responsible for conceptualisation, research, and artistic production, Bones Tan Jones’ work is a spiritual practice that seeks to present an alternative, queer, optimistic dystopia. They work through ritual, meditating through craft, dancing through the veil betwixt nature and the other. Bones weaves a mycelial web of diverse, eco-conscious narratives which aim to connect, enthral and induce audiences to think more sustainably and ethically. Traversing pop music, sculpture, alter-egos, digital image and video work, Bones sanctifies these mediums as tool’s in their craft.
Responsible for in-park curation, project management, delivery, and audience experience, Furtherfield is London’s longest running art and technology (de) centre. We organise for inclusivity and equity in art and technology and advocate for their use in imagining and building real social change and positive environmental impact.
Responsible for the visual identity, 3D modelling and technical development, Studio Hyte is a South London-based design studio. Working between graphic design, interaction, and emergent communication. We specialise in forward-thinking, multifaceted visual identities and experiences within the arts and education sector. Our aim is to create meaningful, accessible and thought-provoking work.
The sprite map provided shows the location of 3 areas of trees with very welcoming sprites. You will need to wander around these locations and see if you can locate the trees wearing mystical amulets which indicate their sprite dwellers are present.
The amulets are pendants placed gently around the trees just above the tops of our human heads. They feature a unique sigil or symbol that, when used correctly, conjures up the spritely tree magic.
A sprite is a digital aura of the trees that tells a fable of past present and future trees of Finsbury Park. There are 3 to find around the park. Each sprite has special characteristics.
Once you have located a tree wearing an amulet you should move close to the tree and line up the symbol, which will wake up the sprite. The app on your phone is designed not only to call forth the tree sprite living there, but to make it visible and audible - usually only certain lucky people (like Bones Tan Jones) can see the sprites without using an app like this. Through the app you’ll see and hear and have the opportunity to really get to know the sprite. You can listen to your phone or wear headphones for uninterrupted sound quality.
Well, how do you usually greet someone you don’t know? Please be polite and gentle. The tree sprite will be excited to meet you and they will want to tell you lots of things, but don’t miss out on the opportunity to dance together too. Tree sprites can move in both magical and erratic ways, so be ready to dart after them if they move too quickly for you. If you can, try to match their rhythm and you’ll soon feel deeply in tune. Have fun and get creative with your dance, and if you can, screen record or screen grab your experience, and share with us via that hashtag #BasedOnATreeStory.
Need we tell you? Find another one of course! By now you will surely be experiencing a growing connection to the sprites and you will probably already be returning to the map to find the next location. You simply repeat the steps of finding the next area of trees, searching for the amulet, scanning the sigil, and meeting another new tree sprite. You can do this over and over, even returning to sprites you’ve already met and sharing more time with them.
We try to check in with the sprites as regularly as we can, but unlike the sprites we can’t be there all the time. If you do discover damage to an amulet it would be most helpful if you could llet us know.
The magical process of meeting with the tree sprites of Finsbury Park was created by Bones Tan Jones, the original tree sprite seer, and their collaborator HERVISIONS. They were invited by Furtherfield to propose an artwork for the People’s Park Plinth at Furtherfield Gallery in the heart of Finsbury Park. Knowing the sprites had been overlooked for so long, Bones Tan Jones seized on the opportunity to be a channel to their world. A known translator of the earth’s most mystical experiences, Bones worked hard to convince the sprites they could create a safe space for them to express themselves. HERVISIONS supported Bones in these careful negotiations. What you are witnessing is the culmination of months of careful work connecting and building trust. When these discussions were in progress Studio Hyte joined the team to create the technology you are using right now to reveal and communicate with the sprites.
In 2021 Furtherfield launched the People’s Park Plinth. This is a project that turns the whole of Finsbury Park into a platform for free, mobile-first, public digital art experiences. In the inaugural year they invited 3 sets of artists to propose artworks that would be featured on the plinth/in the park. Each set of artists made a taster artwork experience, and Furthefield provided their CultureStake app as a way for the people of the park to choose the artwork they wanted.
There was unprecedented interest in the People’s Park Plinth and eventually the park picked Based on a Tree Story, by HERVISIONS X Bones Tan Jones, for their summer 2022 art experience in Finsbury Park. Furtherfield, HERVISIONS, and Bones then collaborated with Studio Hyte in order to build the full experience which allows everyone to meet the tree sprites and connect more deeply with all the magical energies of the park.
With special thanks to Ricard Zanoli, Park Ranger, and other amazing park dwellers including Edible Landscapes, and the bee man, Bioni Samp! The work has been generously supported by: Arts Council England and Haringey Council.
Based on a Tree Story will be live from 13th August 2022 - spring 2023. Then the sprites will need to rest but they have told us you are always welcome to visit them, even if you can’t use the app to see and hear them, they are always there.
We have checked and the tree sprites have consented to their images being taken and shared. You can get screenshots or screen recordings of yourselves and the sprites together and freely share them with friends and on social media. We just ask that you use the hashtag #BasedOnATreeStory.
We are committed to providing artworks, experiences, and websites that are accessible to the widest possible audience. We are also committed to experimenting with new and exciting mediums such as web AR.
Because AR is still an experimental technology, it is not supported across all devices, although this is slowly increasing. This means some phones may not yet have access to it, and the functions of web AR may not yet be as accessible as we would like (for example with screen readers). With this in mind we have produced a non-AR version of the Based on a Tree Story in the hope of ensuring this artwork is available to as many people as possible.
This site and future artworks accessible are under constant review, and we welcome your input especially if you are having difficulties accessing our content or experiences. To do this please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject ‘Accessibility’.Supported By
Please check if your browser (e.g. Safari) has access to your camera, in your phone Settings. You can usually do this by going to phone settings, and your browser, and then camera, and seeing what permissions have been granted.
If you are in the park trying to view the AR-version of the work, you can either use the public wifi around the Furtherfield Gallery building (Password: peoplesparkplinth), or you can use a wifi hotspot from a friend. Alternatively you could view the non-AR version of the app from any other location where you can access wifi.
Please try refreshing the page or closing the tab and reopening by rescanning the QR code. If it keeps happening this is probably an issue with your internet connection. Please try connecting to wifi, for example the public wifi around the Furtherfield Gallery building (Password: peoplesparkplinth) or use a wifi hotspot from a friend. If you do choose to close your tab you can either reaccess the url by rescanning the QR code on the nearest banner or by looking through your history to reopen the web page.
We know several of you might be sharing the same phone, so we’ve included a ‘Reset’ button. This restarts the entire experience of finding and meeting the tree sprites so you someone else can have a go. This is great if you are a family and you want to give everyone a turn, or for friends sharing a phone. But only use the reset if you want to start all over again finding and wooing the sprites.
If you are having this issue, don’t worry! There are a few things you can try:
- Firstly, make sure the camera lens is clean and the amulet is clearly in view without any obstructions.
- Secondly, make sure the amulet is well lit, if it is too dark, the camera might not properly pick up that you have found the amulet. If this happens you may have to come back when it is brighter to meet the sprites!
- Thirdly, if it is bright enough, and there is nothing obstructing the view, try getting closer to the amulet.
- Finally, closing and rescanning the QR code may help as web AR is still a new and experimental technology!
The amulets are pendants that hang from 1 tree in each location. They each feature a unique symbol that can be scanned from within the app to reveal the tree sprites.
We only gather data about your devices (and nothing more) in order to improve the user experience, and debug any issues that might arise with the performance of the web app. All data collected is anonymous, and handled with the utmost care.