I visited Tonkin Liu’s “Singing Ringing Tree” – which shares its name with a 60s children’s TV programme – near Burnley in Lancashire. Its supposedly an architectural kind of installation…. thing. I’m trying to write in a frustrated manner; because I often get tempered by coating simple works with layers of meaning and complexity that are beyond their worth. I don’t want to just sound anti. I really love the Tree, its one of the coolest pieces of art that I’ve seen in a while, and I think this is how art should be done. But I would really love it if things could just be appreciated for what they are rather than smearing wonderful things with a veneer that (in me at least) encourages suspicion.
Can you feel the noise? When I visited the tree (in February) it was blowing a gale, and despite having a spattering of beautiful sunlight, was desolate. I think it added to my experience though, despite limiting it to a few fleeting minutes before I lost the use of my fingers. There are some wind turbines in the valley behind the tree in this picture. Its an interesting contrast, the use of the wind to enthral and inspire in the Singing Ringing Tree and capturing its power for industry and commercial use.
The tree’s party piece, is the noise that is created by the wind blowing through the tubes. Aesthetically, of course, it looks both “cool as fuck” and carries much beauty – in my mind at least. But its the haunting noise, coupled with the location high on a moor in Lancashire, that really evokes strong feelings in me and made me feel affected by the tree.
Apart from writing from a critical point of view, I’m really interested in work, that like this, is in a public place and for anyone to enjoy. I should think of things I could do in this manner.