March 23rd, 2011  |  Filed under Afield in the World, Culture (Art & Music)

Loch Nest – Participatory Art in Madison

March 23rd, 2011  |  Filed under Afield in the World, Culture (Art & Music)

At the beginning of the year a group of artists in Madison Wisconsin continued the local tradition of “The annual discarded Christmas tree spiral” with a special artistic twist. Loch Nest was a participatory art installation of these trees – a mashup of Robert Simthson’s Spiral Jetty and the Art Shanty Projects in Minnesota.


Loch Nest from above photo by Craig Wilson

The artists used the frozen surface of Lake Monona as an ideal canvas for this participatory public art.  Much like the playa, the surface of the frozen lake is a poetic backdrop for temporary art. It made an overnight appearance about half a mile out in the middle of the lake and disappeared just as mysteriously with no trace a few weeks ago.

It was a spiraling display of 40 old Christmas trees. Inside of the spiral was a box full of ribbons with a note inside encouraging visitors to write “a resolution, wish, or something to let go.” The note read:

Loch Nest
Welcome and please enjoy the forest! This is a temporary art installation that will exist for approximately 1 month. The trees will then be removed using a ‘Leave No Trace’ ethic. If you would like to make a resolution, wish, or have something you would like to let go of in 2011 please write on a ribbon and attach it to the trees.

Loch Nest photo by Adam Briska

Participatory ribbons photo by Adam Briska

Loch Nest is one of many participatory art projects happening around the globe. What do you see happening in your neighborhood/community/city?

3 Responses to “Loch Nest – Participatory Art in Madison”

  1. Adam Briska Says:

    By the time the trees came down, there were probably about 400 ribbons tied to the trees. On the weekends, there was a near steady-stream of people going out to view the installation.

    Living near this installation, I had the pleasure of routinely going out and reading the ribbons from the community. Very much like you’d see at Burning Man, the ribbons had a large range of different sentiments, and most expressed something personal. Some of the thoughts were extremely personal and reflected some very difficult moments in people’s lives.

    I’m looking forward to next year…

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  2. Loch Nest – Participatory Art Example | Aimee Smith 1203911 Says:

    […] […]

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  3. Christmas trees an arty oasis on icy Lake Monona « Modern Christmas Lights Says:

    […] They put tree formations on the Lake Monona ice two other winters but took the past two off because in their view there wasn’t enough winter. This year, they dedicated the space to Vogt and put it further out on the ice. It went up one Saturday night in January. About 20 friends volunteered to drag the trees out, auger holes and set them. It took them just two or three hours. […]

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