The wish-tree has cultural roots that extend back to Neolithic times and is deeply rooted in the ancient Anatolian faith and tradition parallel to ancient Greek, Kabala or Persian believes. It operates on a simple mechanism that involves affixing a note or a memento to a branch of a tree as an act of hope born out of hopelessness. In this act, the tree emerges as a place of last resort where one pins one’s hopes on unseen powers that can change fate to our advantage. The Wish Machine takes this multi-cultural tradition as the key insight into how design and utopia could cooperate.

The design of the installation, which appears as a pneumatic system exhaling in a mirrored space, invites visitors to interact by writing their hopes, futures, utopias and whishes down and placing the paper in the tube system to send it to a place unknown. The physical surrounding where the carriage of the papers can be transparently seen is covered by reflective surfaces, suggesting an eternity. The design empathetically allows the public to experience a communication with the unknown and having a glimpse into what has become the greatest existential social challenge for Europe.

Thomas More could have not imagined how his bequest utopia changed tremendously within time. Global warming, growing violence, war and terror are threatening the human future and causing displacement and migration. In these dark moments, utopias become more evident and important.