Caution Trees

Caution Trees

Outdoor Sculpture - Temporary

 2425 W. Michigan St, Indianapolis, IN, 46222

This installation is part of Indy Art & Seek, a project by the Arts Council of Indianapolis and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful to pair artists and communities to create site-specific art that encourages neighborhood residents to see their surroundings in new ways.

Wrapping trees as both a cultural and an artistic practice  is growing in popularity across cityscapes. In Japan, the Shinto tradition holds that all natural forms are imbued with a life spirit; for thousands of years they have wrapped the trunks of specially honored trees with decorative ropes and streamers. “Prayer trees” in Siberia are adorned with fabric bands to serve as an intermediary between our world and that of the spirits; the bands symbolize a wish for peace and harmony.  More recently, artists like Christo and Jeanne-Claude (who wrapped trees in a park in Switzerland in 1997-98), Zander Olsen (UK; ongoing Tree, Line project), and Piotr Janowski (in Tarpon Springs, FL, 2015) have explored wrapping trees in various materials for both aesthetic and conceptual purposes.

For the Art & Seek intervention, tree limbs simulating small trees are wrapped in brilliant orange caution tape. Small branches are wrapped in narrow, solid-color strips, while the trunk and large branches are wrapped in pre-printed tape bearing the word “Caution”. Viewers can interpret the “caution” signal on the trees in a variety of ways.  The trees could be cautioning against the damaging effects of man-made climate change.  They could also be cautioning against overdevelopment at the expense of trees and human inhabitants.

Lisa Elliott is an educator, land artist, and creative placemaker living on Indianapolis’ west side.

Medium type: Plastic - Wood

Date created: 2020

Location Info

2425 W. Michigan St

2425 W. Michigan St, Indianapolis, IN, 46222