Project: Friend Tree
Artist: Hikaru Furuhashi

Major: Film
Contact: pindots[at]
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My Friend Tree is a park activity which links people to nature, friends and growth.
The first prototype was a booklet "my friend tree in the mountain lake park". It was like a children's picture book + ecology class lab book. By using this booklet,
[click sprout to link to visuals].the user was able to make a Friend Tree in the park. The user was provided this booklet when visiting Mountain Lake park. Then he/she was able to follow the pages of booklet and do the activity. The activity is that the user will find a tree in the park that is exactly same size of the user's "hug hole" (when make a circle with arms, the diameter is same as the tree's diameter). And that is the user's Friend Tree. Users can bring other friends (human or non-human friends such as dolls and stuffed animals) and do same things for them. That will be the user's friends' Friend Tree. The user can sketch their new Friend Tree on the booklet. After the user finds his/her Friend Tree, they can leave a message card for Friend Tree. The card is biodegradable. This card allows the user be able to talk to the tree, also can be a marker of the tree to find it in a future visit. On the booklet, there is a map and stickers that ask users to map where their Friend Tree's are located. This helps users to recognize the location of their Friend Tree. The user will visit Mountain Lake park often in the future, and every time they visit with this booklet, they can hug their Friend Tree and see and feel the change or difference from their last visit. And the user can make a note about it in the note section of their booklet. So they can study the trees.
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This project gives rise to creative involvement of the park management. My Friend Tree
has the potential to create a community awareness. As this project will make a connection between people and park/ people and people stronger. In terms of the relationship between people and the trees, it possibly provides a chance to study and become familiarize with the trees as living species. Because the ancient human life was deeply connected and depended on the forest’s trees before they figure out that they can survive in the savanna, it is important to understand the trees and its ecology, interactivity and relationship with its living environment. Broadly, the trees are the lungs to all the species in the planet. However it is commonly understood that the trees are in danger all over the world. Thus, it is highly significant to know about the trees and care about the trees with the affection and respectfulness.

My friend tree project will have many forms; a printed booklet, a web site and a wireless application. Users will visit Mountain Lake park and walk around. They will hug the trees in order to find their “Friend Tree”. In the case of a wireless application, the audience is required to have a cell phone that has Bluetooth or similar device that has GPS capability. The mother computer has an environment that can read (decode) and locate the data from the GPS satellite and make a map. There will be a MyFriend Tree website and the audience can log on. There is a map of Mountain Lake park and the indicator shows where the audience’s Friend Tree was located. Next step, the user can select the tree species similar (or their choice) to their Friend Tree. They can change the size of friend tree to make it bigger or smaller as their friend tree. [a default library of trees will be availble with cutomizing tools for type and size) Each of things like pine corns, apple, leaf, mushroom, bug and bird will have a special category of information that the audience can load onto it, such as user profile, hobby, message, note for friend tree, friends list, etc… then, the tree is ready to locate to the original location where audience found their Friend Tree. People will create multiple different trees and they will be visible in the map of Mountain Lake park. At this point, there is an online and offline community evolved. The information will be able to be edited over time as the audience goes to the park to hug the tree and find the difference. The tree is growing and people, the community itself is also growing.