09/18/2009 (6:28 pm)

The tree whisperer

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mark bernard's installation

I feared it was an anesthesia flash back. I wandered into Willow Kiln Park – behind the Rosendale Theater and the Big Cheese and Soiled Doves – and, I swear, a log on the ground started talking to me. It welcomed me, and then it started relating the history of Rosendale, and I kept looking around to see if the voice was coming from somewhere else. A few minutes in, I am pretty sure it asked me, “Are you still there?”

Okay, I made that up – the part about it being an anesthesia flash-back. Not the part about the talking log, though. That really happened. I had actually gone there to hear the log talk. I knew that Mark Bernard had put it there – it’s his cool “The Tree Whispers Rosendale” interactive art installation. I knew because he came to borrow a shovel the other day to move some greenery around log.


Ah, the magic of modern technology. It’s got a whole audio system inside that works on motion sensor technology, so it starts talking when it senses you’re near. Every few mintutes it (in Mark’s voice) asks you to move around so it can keep going. No, it’s not being needy.

So, if you find yourself in Willow Kiln Park, and a tree starts going on about the Lenape Indians who lived here, and the canals and the cement business, no need to assume you’re losing it.

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