“Imagine all the people living life in peace” John Lennon
The Imagine Peace Tower is a broad beam of blue light emanating from a wishing well, which bears the phrase ‘imagine peace’ in 24 languages. On October 9th 2010 – the date of John Lennon’s birth, until December 8th – the anniversary of his death, it will once again send out its beacon for world peace, lighting the sky above the globe’s most northern capital, Reykjavik, in Iceland.
The art installation was conceived by Yoko Ono. It is situated at the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant, Videy Island, where electricity for the nine converging spotlights, powerful enough to be seen from space, is generated naturally from geothermal energy. Yoko chose Iceland to house the artwork because it is a world leader on environmental issues, has no army, navy or air force and always ranks in the top five of the Global Peace Index – this year it came second.
The tower was built three years ago in memory of her husband, John Lennon, for what would have been his 67th birthday and every year, it illuminates the sky over the Icelandic capital. It also lights up for the Winter Solstice, December 21st to 28th, and the first week of Spring, March 21st to 28th, for two hours after sunset, as well as New Year’s Eve until dawn.
The tower symbolises John and Yoko’s campaign for world peace, which began in the 1960s. It is connected to another interactive artwork, the Wish Tree, where Yoko invited people to write down their hopes for peace and tie them to a branch as part of a collective prayer.
In recent years, Yoko realised she was going to need a place to keep the wishes she had collected – currently there are over 750,000. “I thought: I have to put them in a tower or something … a peace tower.” Now, the wishes are housed in capsules surrounding the memorial, each topped with a tree. “Eventually, it will be like a forest,” she said.
The Imagine Peace Tower and Yoko Ono in Iceland
Photo: copyright Yoko Ono