On Sunday, a group of folks went to McCarren Park to weave a web of hopes and memories in a tree.
We had strips of brightly colored paper, pens, staplers, and a sign inviting passersby to write down a memory of a park and a hope for this park. The goal was to have people write down something about parks, past or future, on a strip of paper, then loop the paper into a circle, and connect it to other strips of paper. The result would be a giant colorful sculpture of Williamsburg's interconnecting hopes, dreams, and memories about parks.
Initially, when there was only a bare tree, no one seemed interested in the project. But as the initial group hung their own links on the tree, passersby became more intrigued.
Of all the interactive art projects in which I've participated, this is probably the one to which most people had some frame of reference. Perhaps because of that, it was also the one which most people would look at, but not come over at participate. It took constant invitations to make art and share memories to get folks involved. However, a few people participating seemed to encourage others to participate.
So that at times there would be waves of folks sharing memories and dreams.
Dogs were especially good at encouraging folks to participate. And one dog even added a link to the web by sharing an abstract representation of a park memory (or hope, we aren't sure).
It was wonderful to hear people comment on how the project reminded them of special memories that they had forgotten. One of my favorite moments is when someone shared a memory of a park in Austin, and two strangers beside her exclaimed that they were from Austin. Perhaps because of the positive memories and connections that the project brought to people, some of the folks who participated in the project got really excited about it and encourage other strangers to do the same. Special distinction goes to Mario Aguila who spent three hours convincing even the most disinterested hipsters to write positive thoughts on neon paper and hang it in a tree.
By the end, the web itself showed the beauty of our interconnects hopes and memories.
(That's Dan Dilliplane off to the side, who came up with the idea for the project.)
(the man who wrote this meant it literally)
(a mobius strip)
When it's time to take them down, it turns out hopes and memories make for the most fashionable of clothing.