Pink blossom trees in Christ Church Gardens with light boxes in the trees, Future Machine in front with artist companion next to it and people with hand generators lighting up the trees

When This Tree Blossomed 2022

The cherry trees in Christ Church Gardens began to blossom on the 25th March, during an early heatwave. 6 days earlier than last year. Then the snow came and slowed the blossoms down.

We met on Wednesday 20th April to celebrate the blossoming trees and the Future Machine appeared.

This year the children from Year 6 at Mellers Primary School finally met the Future Machine in the gardens. In their classroom they had made light boxes with different words for the weather, using the words that the Future Machine uses to turn the live weather data it collects from the sensors on the pole at the back into music. They also used their own words for different weather.

The musicians Alex Dayo and Dave Kemp came to Nottingham (from London) to celebrate the blossoms with us and to meet the school children, showing the children how the weather data controls the music and we talked about how the weather also effects when the trees blossom each year. The children made their own sounds and movement to represent the breeze that shook the pink and white blossoms petals from the trees, echoing the snow that had fallen the week before. Alex, Dave and the Future Machine played along. The children then split into groups to devise their messages for the future. Each of the 62 children took turns to meet Future Machine, turn the handle, receive a printed story about the world as it is now, and speak to the future.

Later more people came to meet under the trees. Last year the children had made light boxes with birds on them, along with the weather words these were hung from the trees to light up the blossoms at sundown. Alex and Dave played the sounds of the weather, and traditional celebration songs from Alex’s country – Burkina Faso – as we waited for the sun to go down. It was a bright day and the sun went down slowly.

The people who were there stood under the trees with hand generators that they turned to light up the tree. Future Machine played along with the sounds of the weather and witnessed the moment. People left messages for the future and listened to the messages from the past, including some of the messages left by the children earlier in the day.

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