Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan
 

Works Chicago: White Pine in the Windy City

April 30, 2013

Pine Flag

On Tuesday, April 30, White Pine in the Windy City, the latest project by A&D Works Chicago, turns a cluster of white pine needles from Michigan’s State tree into a “flag” atop a flag pole at 404 S. Peoria in Chicago for thousands of motorists and El passengers to see. As the wind blows the “flag” releases white pine seeds to produce new trees.

White Pine in the Windy City is part of Temporary Allegiance, an exhibit project of Gallery 400 coordinated by artist and curator Phillip von Zweck.

Just about a year ago A&D Works Chicago wrote this manifesto:

“Work Chicago is raising the start flag.
Work Chicago is the ignition set to launch new spaces for art and design culture and creative enterprises piloted by A&D featuring mixologists, meet-ups, exhibits, tech shops, screenings, and exhibits.
Work Chicago inaugurates a national initiative of jump starts to charge creative communities.
A&D Work initiatives are coming your way.
Come raise our flag, and let’s create the culture together.”

Little did we know then, that our movement would have such momentum. Since that declaration, A&D Works Chicago has staged exhibitions, led workshops and mixed alums with Chicago artists, designers, curators and institutional leaders. It is fitting to offer a visual form to this rising collective at Temporary Allegiance, one of Chicago’s most visible sites for activating new creative rituals. Breaking the flatness and the plane of the traditional rectangular form, White Pine for the Windy City is constructed of open volumes that create long individual needles.

When filled with air of the passing winds, the needles transform into cones. It’s through the cones that the White Pine disperses its Michigan seeds here in the Windy City. Working with archival images drawn from the Library of Congress image database, Tori Terizakis and Rebecca Straub (BFA ‘08) conceived of (with Brent Fogt, MFA ‘07) and constructed the flag with equal inspiration drawn from the tall slender form of the tree as well its creative survival and diffusion mechanisms.

The White Pine is fertilized by the wind, and its seeds develop wings, which stick out of the cone. When a breeze comes up, it blows some of the seeds down, helicoptering them away from the tree. The seeds do not generally travel all that far--most of them are eaten by animals. But those that survive can go on to produce new pine trees.

Watch A&D Works Chicago in the next year. A bumper crop of Michigan pine seeds are waiting, ready to begin growing.

— Nick Tobier, Director of National Engagement

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