The Chicago Tree Project

Connie Noyes

The Sound of Light on Ash
 
Washington Park
 
2018

My work is an immersion in mourning research. Raised in a culture where the delicate and complicated process of mourning was rushed, clearing the way to move on or “get back to normal,” this stoic posturing left no room for ritual or its importance in healing the complex emotional experience of grief.  

As my research has expanded, mourning rituals based on personal loss have given way to increased focus on the socio-political climate of the moment. Due to an escalation of violence and disparity, the collective felt experience of grief is palpable in our society. Regardless of our differences, grief is a common ground. By acknowledging this commonality, The Sound of Light on Ash is a path to connect individuals and communities in an intimate, creative and regenerative space for healing.   

My proposal for the Chicago Tree Project was based on the first law of thermodynamics which states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change forms. With renewed energy, the tree now reflects its surroundings in the community. If you look you can observe the subtle reflections of golden leaves, green from grass or the red of a jogger’s jacket as she passes by. I worked on the tree over a period of about 6 weeks and fell in love with the quiet energy it emitted. I came to realize this tree will continue to provide a natural comfort for those able to hear the sounds of its roots.  

Beginning in the spring of 2019, public engagement projects will be realized. One such project is Love Letters to the Lost. At the base of the tree there will be a depository for writings such as poems, prayers, confessions, secrets or praise to a loss.  The energy of this writing will be transformed as the letter decomposes and your message is carried through the earth. Performances and community rituals will initiate this practice. Please sign up for my mailing list if you would like to be notified of these events. You can reach me through my website at www.connienoyes.com.