The PoeTREE/A Tree I Love

Stories from The PoeTREE/A Tree I Love

This 11-minute video weaves together some of the thoughtful and moving stories and images about trees that The PoeTREE/A Tree I Love participants contributed to the project in 2020.

The PoeTREE: A Tree I Love

Is there a tree you've loved? Or one that’s been important in your life? Past or present, near or far? Help create The PoeTREE by writing in any language and/or sharing an image of a tree you’ve loved via the public Facebook group or @atreeilove on instagram.

Featured in Shared Dialogues, Shared Space (SDSS) on May 31, 2020, this iteration of The PoeTREE was one of five commissioned works for SDSS, a tri-lingual event bringing contemporary participatory art to Korean and Chinese audiences.

Our livestream event included projects by Rejin Leys, Jamerry Kim, Cody Herrmann, Young Sun Han, and Priscilla Stadler. This tri-lingual project (Korean, Mandarin, and English) was developed by the Korea Art Fund to expand Asian immigrant communities' connection with contemporary art practices.

2020 Shared Dialogues, Shared Space

Originally scheduled to take place in April 2020 in a Flushing, Queens, NYC park, the artists and organizers grappled with how to redefine “Shared Dialogues and Shared Space” when public interaction wasn’t physically possible due to the pandemic. 

Instead of inviting passersby to help build the cardboard tree and contribute visuals and short texts about a tree they have loved, I provided options to share a favorite tree story: a public facebook group, instagram, an email, and a google voice phoneline.

From the public's contributions, I made two pieces: a cardboard sculpture that I completed with audience participation during our livestream event, and a tri-lingual reading with video and images.

In the SDSS  livestream recording, the PoeTREE sculpture interaction begins around 50: 30 and the 10-minutevideo with readings starts at approximately 1:11:29.

Collective voices from branches of The PoeTREE/A Tree I Love

Ancient and resilient, it survived lightning strikes and still stands tall.
오래되고 탄탄하다, 벼락이 내리쳐도 그것은 살아 남았고 여전히 높게 서있다. 

I rested near the surface of its earthly origins.
나는 지구 기원의 표면 근처에 자리를 잡고 있다.  

This tree deserves a lot of hugs.
이 나무는 여러번 포옹해 줄 만하다.

Yellow, orange, and red spectacle of fall
가을의 노랑, 주홍, 빨강 관경

He told me they touched the clouds.
그가 말하길 그들은 구름을 만졌다고 한다.

I saw images and signs in her bark.
그 나무의 껍질 속에 새겨진 이미지와 서명을 보았다.

Squirrels and once a snake traveled through it.
다람쥐 그리고 한번은 뱀이 통과해 지나갔다.

I miss her beautiful maple tree body and its magnificent energy field.
그녀의 아름다운 단풍나무 몸통과, 그 웅장한 기운이 그립다.

Grandmother to so many trees around her
할머니 주변으로부터 나무들이 많다.

He’s here. Talking to me.
그는 여기 있다. 나에게 말을 하고있다. 

A rainforest grows in Southeast Queens.
퀸즈 동남부에 (열대) 우림이 형성되고 있다.

It was supposed to be a miniature tree but grew to a towering height.
조그만 나무였어야 되는데 탑처럼 높이 자랐다.


The PoeTREE is a participatory project. It began as a collective work with artists and neighbors of Kelly Street, Bronx, NY for the Grow Love festival, in conjunction with my 2014 Create Change Fellowship with The Laundromat Project. That first PoeTREE was a sculpture with paper leaves inscribed by the community as they answered: “What do you want to grow in your neighborhood?”  

For Queens Creative Solidarity’s Studio in the Park 2016 residency at the Queens Museum, The PoeTREE was facilitated by artist Lorie Caval, who asked visitors to draw and write their thoughts about trees. In 2017, for the Southeast Queens Artists’ Alliance cART Festival, Lorie and I built a basic cardboard tree trunk (on a shopping cart) and invited the public to help co-construct The PoeTREE by drawing, writing, and reflecting about trees while building out and decorating its cardboard branches and paper leaves.

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