The Idea of a Tree
2008 – ongoing

Katharina Mischer and Thomas Traxler formed Studio Mischer‘Traxler in 2009. Based in Vienna they develop and design products, furniture, and installations. Studio Mischer‘Traxler is interested in the relationship between craft and technological production, developing whole systems, processes and new production methods.

‘The Idea of a Tree’ explores the relationship between machines and the natural environment. For Studio Mischer’Traxler a tree is a record of the specific environmental conditions of a site. The Idea of a Tree constructs an object that documents its own production – specifically the result is determined by ecological cycles. The Idea of a Tree expresses the amount of solar energy harnessed during a 24-hour period. When activated the machine uses threads to construct an object, with the colour depicting the intensity of sunlight. The object becomes a record of the environmental particularities that enabled its production.


Collective Works
2011 – ongoing

Studio Mischer’Traxler second project within ‘The Machine’ exhibition, ‘Collective Works,’ is a device that manufactures a basket, but only if it is being observed. Production is activated by the physical presence of a viewing audience. Each basket bears the unique traces of the interest in its own fabrication.

When the first viewer activates the machine a 24mm wide wooden veneer-strip is slowly coiled to produce a vessel. When a second viewer observes Collective Works, the machine marks the veneer with a coloured indicator. As more people observe the device the darker the colour becomes. According to Studio Mischer’Traxler, Collective Works attempts to question the relationships between man and machine, with the spectators transformed into ‘workers’ – observation becomes labour.