October 10, 2010

Weekly(ish) Photo Essay: The Wishing Tree

When I first moved down to New York - before my days became an insane combination of school, kids and extracurricular activities - I actually had time to go out and do stuff.

And I did go out and do stuff. Especially when my mom was here and dragging me to every museum in the city.

The very first weekend she was here we went to the MoMa with the friends we were staying with, and after walking around the museum for a couple of hours - which has the same effect on me as taking four Valium - I wanted to go outside a bit and sit down.

So we went out into the courtyard and saw that there was an interactive installation by Yoko Ono. It was a little potted tree, with next to it a little table heaped with blank tags and pens. It was called The Wishing Tree, and everyone who wanted to could write a wish on a little tag and tie it to the tree.

Visually it was quite stunning, this little tree straining under the weight of everyone's wishes.

But even more striking was the difference in scope of what everyone wrote, ranging from wishing for peace on earth, to wishing for more well-behaved children, to wishing that an upcoming date go well, by people of all ages, and in many languages.

I'm still not sure how I feel about it as an art installation - I'm torn between my inner cynic who thinks it was corny, my inner sap who thinks it was moving (especially the wishes written by children), and my inner contrarian who is annoyed that it was by Yoko Ono - but I must give credit where credit it due, and say that it was an interesting and even thought-provoking piece.

What do you think?

What would you wish for?
Which wish is your favorite?

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Alyssa said...

This is beautiful! And I'm with you on the whole Yoko Ono thing.

Mrs. Dontje said...

"I wish the earth was always clean" is my favorite. A young, wise soul.

Messy Jesse said...

Marvelous Julia!!

I don't know if it was because the state of mind I was in when I read this and looked at the pictures, put it made cry a little bit. Great post!!! I want to go see this tree now, even though it was Yoko Ono's "idea", I agree credit where it is due. Great idea.

I'd wish for patience and understanding.

Alyssa said...

whoah i just got REALLY confused when i saw a comment by an alyssa, i couldnt remember commenting on this before! - but never fear it was a different alyssa :)

I think the wishing tree is lovely, even if it is yoko just wanting more publicity for herself. blah.

I love the wish for a puppy. Its young, its pure. You know its what the child really wants, not something they have thought up to try and write something impressive


Sam said...

I love it :) My fave that you posted is the wish for the puppy. I can just picture a little girl writing that and being so happy hanging it on the tree. I think I'd wish for a job! That would be handy right about now :)

Kelly L said...

Ok, maybe it's a little corny, but I totally love it. I love the idea of it, I love the wishes people wrote, and I love the visual of seeing them all on there. (I really love that one shot, I think it's third from the bottom, taken from underneath - I don't know why, it just grabbed me for some reason.)

My favorite wish is the very first one - the one that looks like it is in a kid's handwriting, but says "I wish for every person to find their own happiness."

Though I did giggle at the one that said "I wish you didn't break up the Beatles." ;)