CommuniTree - sculpture as toy

Working on the CommuniTree at the Townie Street Party

Most of the armature still visible

It's been an interesting process building this thing. An an artist I generally work solo and have total control over what I make. When I do community based/sourced projects I have to let go of the control and go with people's creativity, energy and ideas - steering them but letting the project go where lots of people's involvement takes it. The CommuniTree project has been that in a huge way. I brought the partially pre-built armature to the Townie Street Party and assembled it with help from my son and a few volunteers. Then something like 100 people contributed their efforts over the course of the evening. Julianne Pinsak had bought two smaller tree pieces last fall and she brought me 200 phone cords sourced from the PTO Thrift Store. My friend Paul Malbeauf brought a huge stash of cords cleaning out his basement. At the end of the Street Party we rolled the tree up the street to the patio of

Rolling it to

Over the next few days a few dozen more people stopped by to help build the tree. Here is a stop motion video shot by Angela Cesere of of some of the building.

Some numbers: the finished piece stands about 8.5' tall and is 8' in diameter. It weighs more than 100 pounds - probably closer to two hundred. We used more than 400 cables ranging from mini-usb, scsi-to-serial, fiber-optic, electrical, phone and power converters, mice and CAT5. It's been suggested that the finished piece would be a great interractive lobby piece for a high tech firm - put out a box of cables and invite visitors to play. With that concept it may never be finished. I like that idea and hope it finds a home along those lines.

CommuniTree is a partnership between the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, and the Milan Art Center. It is for sale and proceeds of the sale will benefit the Street Art Fair and the Milan Art Center. Bid for it here. Full disclosure - I'm the board chair of the Milan Art Center.


HI Leslie! I totally love the wire tree piece! It would be really cool to have several of them in a central location (town square?)with holiday lights on them! What a wonderful use for all of that darn cable stuff! Like the big pile of it behind any home theatre section. Thanks for posting great photos. btw, I found you via my friend Vanessa Vaile.

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