Matthew Battles is Associate Director of the metaLAB and Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, USA. His previous publications include Library: an Unquiet History (2004), The Sovereignties of Invention (2012) and Library Beyond the Book (2014).
Explores via art and literature our complicated material and economic entanglements with trees and their products.
An interesting and surprising take, through a single object, on our relationship to the environment
Part One: Feral TreesThe Tree of HeavenIn a Dappled WorldA branching HeuristicPart Two: Garden and ForestIn the Tree MuseumFrom Ailanthus to AppleThe Charter of the ForestsPart Three: A Dark AbundanceThe Tree and/in HistoryWith and Without UsNotes Index
Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things. Tree explores the forms, uses, and alliances of this living object's entanglement with humanity, from antiquity to the present. Trees tower over us and yet fade into background. Their lifespan outstrips ours, and yet their wisdom remains inscrutable, treasured up in the heartwood. They serve us in many ways-as keel, lodgepole, and execution site-and yet to become human, we had to come down from their limbs. In this book Matthew Battles follows the tree's branches across art, poetry, and landscape, marking the edges of imagination with wildness and shadow. Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.