The Chicago Tree Project (CTP) is a collaborative initiative between the Chicago Park District and Chicago Sculpture International. The CTP is an annual citywide effort to transform sick and dying trees into vibrant public art rather than cutting them down. Using art as a vessel for public engagement, sculptors transform trees into fun and whimsical experiences for the greater Chicago community. Each year, twelve new trees are installed throughout the city. A complete map and more information can be found at www.chicagotreeproject.org
Artist Bio and Statement: Peter Krsko, trained as a biophysicist, listens to nature and creates objects and experiences to share his observations. His approach combines science and art; participatory, interactive and community arts; and play with hands-on education. His artwork compares the laws governing biological communities to the dynamics within human societies.
The installation titled “Para Z” by Peter Krsko examines relationships between trees and humans. Are they mutualistic or parasitic?
This particular installation consists of the old majestic tree and the pre-fabricated modules. The modules are also made of wood, but the contrast with the tree is striking. The tree is an old, weathered witness to the immediate life on this street. Its trunk is hard and heavy. The modules represent the modern manufacturing and fabrication methods. They are stream-lined, sterile, straight, light and soft. There are many of them and they are repeating.
The tree may be dead but it is still a functional member of the local urban ecosystem. When its branches were cut off, it became less inviting to the birds. It is harder for them to sit on it, to nest on it, to be protected by it. However, immediately after the pre-fabricated modules were installed, the birds took a new interest in the tree. They came back.
It is not easy to determine whether the modules are a parasitic component of the installation, or if a mutualistic symbiosis was created, when they became the new branches. The old beautiful organic tree and the sterile-looking assemblies live together in great contrast, yet they complement each other and elevate each other to new heights. Let’s celebrate our relationship with the trees.