Sick-Amour is an activist and public art project, an art installation, and a movie by Joel Tauber that celebrates a lonely and forlorn Tree in the middle of a giant parking lot in front of the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena (CA, USA).
2005. A beautiful and forlorn Tree, stuck in the middle of a giant parking lot. Ignored and neglected. Hit by cars and starved for water and oxygen. The Tree is attacked by pathogens and pollutants, and it has no chance to reproduce.
Joel Tauber is struck by the Tree’s loneliness and its beauty, and he is outraged by the indignities that it is forced to endure. So, he devotes himself to improving the Tree’s life—watering it with giant water bags, installing tree guards to protect it from cars, building giant earrings to celebrate its beauty, lobbying to remove the asphalt beneath its canopy and to protect it with a ring of boulders, and helping the Tree reproduce.
Amour leads to action. Mulch replaces asphalt (2006). Boulders rebuff cars (2007). And 200 Tree Babies are born (2007).
Tauber finds homes for the Tree Babies. They grow. They thrive. Some are accompanied with plaques from the Tree Museum. Others are adorned by necklaces, with sculptural contributions from students.
Years pass. The Tree Babies continue to grow, even if some also pass away. And all seems good, for the most part anyway. Until it suddenly and shockingly isn’t. In 2019, terrible tragedy occurs. The City of Pasadena—inexplicably and unjustifiably—chops down the perfectly healthy Tree and replaces it with concrete.
Tauber mourns the passing of the Tree. He is devastated beyond belief.
Then he thinks about the Tree Babies, all the ones that are thriving, and his hope begins to grow again.