Sick Amour: The USC Tree Baby Project

A Joel Tauber Project

Lawn south of Watt Hall. Installed January 2008. Students involved with the project include Germaine Chang, Maddie Chavez, Peter Bobbs, Judith Truelson, Sue Bell Yank, Greg Shin, Eron Surdam, Liza Epps, Andrew Emons, and Richard Masland. Text from plaque:

Sick-Amour, A Joel Tauber project. Sponsored by the USC Gayle Garner Roski School of Fine Arts and School of Architecture. In association with LA X Art's public art initiatives. Dedicated on January 24, 2008.

Philosopher Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) believes that we have an ethical responsibility to trees and other non-human living beings. We need to take care of the tree, but we must also take care of its neighbors: the polluted river, the other forlorn trees in the lot, the birds and animals that visit the tree, and the soil around it buried in asphalt. Our health and the health of our cities are linked to the plight of the tree and its friends. The city cannot ignore the plight of the tree because its fate is linked to the fate of the tree.

The tree is trying so hard to reproduce. It spends so much energy trying to create healthy flowers and seeds, despite the fact that it has a very difficult time just surviving. But, the reality is that even if it manages to make healthy seeds, there is nowhere for the seeds to grow! The tree is surrounded by asphalt. So, the tree has no chance to reproduce on its own. This really upsets me. There will be no lineage, if there are no saplings. And, that would be terrible beyond belief! I cannot allow that to happen. I love this tree, and I identify with it. So, I decided to help it reproduce. I pray that beautiful tree babies will have long, happy lives!

-Excerpts from the virtual tree museum in honor of the forlorn sycamore tree stuck in the middle of Rose Bowl Parking Lot K.

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