I’d heard of and seen a few photos of the The Singing Ringing Tree (designed by Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu) and was quite enamoured by the idea of this wind powered sculpture up on the moors above Burnley so took a trip over to have a look on the weekend. It’s described as a Panopticon which is apparently a structure providing a comprehensive view which it certainly does over the town below and across to Pendle Hill, a twist on the panopticon prison design which has a concept of all prison cells being able to seen by one guard in the middle without the prisoners knowing who is being watched. The tree is part of a series of similar sculptures around the area including the Halo, Atom and Coloufields.
It’s an unusual structure, individual metal tubes, some with slits in allowing the wind to play sounds. On the day I visited it was just a faint whisper but I can imagine that it would sound pretty eerie when the wind is blowing. I liked that as you moved around the sculpture it takes on different shapes and conjures images…. an alien spaceship or a metallic ostrich head were two that came to mind and I particularly liked the way that despite all of the individual pipes being straight the way they have been put together reveals some interesting curves.
Overall I rather liked the Singing Ringing Tree and next time I’m over that way will have to take a detour to see the other panopticons.