Life & Style

A project to bring kids' wishes 'alive'

Brazilian artistes Paulo Cesar Teles and Rosana Bernardo combine ecology, ethics, art, technology and dreams in The Wishing Tree project

“The banyan or kalpavriksha is India’s wishing tree; in Japan, it is the tanabata,” says interdisciplinary Brazilian artist Prof Dr Paulo Cesar Teles, who uses recycled material to build wishing trees.

Assisted by handicraft expert Rosana Bernardo, also from Brazil, he is currently conducting a workshop at Tattwa, a concept school in Kochi. The two artists are taking The Wishing Tree project, which combines ecology, ethics, social consciousness, new age technology and art, to schools and public spaces across the world.

“The purpose is not just artistic, but also brings in wonder, hope, duty, compassion and other virtues. When children see their wish expressed, they begin to respect the things associated with it, ” says Paulo. Freelance educator Tara Ratnam noticed his multi-disciplinary installation at the International Art Congress in Namibia in 2018 and invited him to do work with children at Vidya Vanam in Coimbatore and Tattwa in Kochi.

The installation was built slowly over days with children drawing their dreams and wishes. Paulo converts these into animation and uses their conversations as audio recordings that come alive when the tree is activated. The tree itself is built using tubes, pipes, cloth, pap

A project to bring kids' wishes 'alive'
er and “rubbish”. Rosana works with the kids to convert the waste into objects of art and craft. Plastic bottles are cut and turned into leaves and flowers to decorate the tree. Touchless interface has been introduced via gesture recognition technology. When the tree is activated, it glows, music begins to play and with body movements of the onlookers the wishes and art appear on adjacent screens.

In 2009, Paulo met the US-based Indian researcher Mouseme De at an exhibition in Spain and together they conceptualised the blending of recycling process, new media and art technology. A teacher at the University of Campinas in Sao Paolo, Paulo set up the first tree at Campinas Primary School. A month later, he built one at a primary school in Portugal. This was followed by projects in Greece and Germany (2014), New Zealand (2015), Nigeria (2016), Nepal (2017) and in Namibia ( 2018).

A project to bring kids' wishes 'alive'

The wishing tree project has had positive results across the world. In Nigeria, where waste was burnt, people began thinking of reusing it. In New Zealand the children made a Christmas Tree. In Coimbatore the computer teacher at Vidya Vanam quickly cracked the code of a programme and created one for themselves.

“Waste management is very rudimentary in third world countries. It is important to create awareness of recycling and environment protection,” says Paulo.

Paulo says that he combines all his technology and social knowledge with the Wishing Tree. “I am happier making the tree in a small village among children rather than putting it up at galleries in big cities. It gives me great joy to see the excitement in their faces as they watch their wishes on the tree.”

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 8:18:49 AM |

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