The Witness Tree Project
In timing with Prospect Park’s 150th Anniversary, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Prospect Park Alliance present The Witness Tree Project, an exhibition of designed objects by RISD students created from a 150-year-old fallen elm tree in the Prospect Park Parade Ground.
The exhibition is on view Thursdays through Sundays, 12-5 pm, from September 9-30, with a closing reception from 3-5 pm on September 30.
Witness Trees, as designated by the National Park Service, are long-standing trees that have “witnessed” key events in history. In a joint spring 2017 RISD furniture studio and history seminar called The Politics of Belonging: Race, Diversity and the Immigrant Experience in Brooklyn and Beyond, student designers researched Prospect Park’s significance in American history, visited the site and built fully informed objects reflecting on what they learned, using the wood to create objects inspired by the rich cultural history surrounding the tree.
The range of projects represents the wide range of immigrant experiences, and include a series of wooden kaleidoscopes through which viewers can observe the text of President Trump’s proposed travel ban, to a wooden replica of the turntable used by seminal immigrant musician Grand Master Flash in the 1970s.