And The Tree Was Happy

 

The title “And The Tree Was Happy” is derived from Shel Silverstein’s famous children’s book, “The Giving Tree”. The story is a complex metaphor describing our willingness to consume nature at a rate that will eventually leave us with a barren planet but it’s also a story about generosity and love. Dr. Seuss’s book, “The Lorax” is another source of inspiration where he tells a very serious story in a humorous, approachable way. Using the strategies employed by the authors I wish to talk about a number of ecological issues in a way that’s accessible and engaging to the public. In my installation, plastics in the environment, water conservation and our active roles as responsible citizens are addressed with humor and absurdity. Made from recycled, polyethylene, gas tubing, this vine climbs the tree, winding its way to the lower branches culminating in blossom-like funnels. The funnels serve to collect rainwater meant for the tree. At the base of the tree, the vine becomes a bulbous knob that contains a faucet to access the surreptitiously obtained water. This valve represents an opportunity at redemption, our redemption. We could choose to take the water and use it for ourselves or we could choose to return the water to the tree. The obvious artificiality of the plastic and the absurd attempt to mimic nature are a striking reminder of how extreme the contrast can be between man made and natural. If we are to protect the natural resources active participation is necessary. The faucet symbolizes a choice that is still available, a hopeful yet an ominous one, as was the final word left by the Lorax “Unless”…This piece was commissioned by the city of West Hollywood as part of their Art on the Outside series titled Can You Dig It. It is on display until January 2017.