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‘Entwined,’ Golden Gate Park’s grove of LED sugar cubes, to come back even bigger in December

A smal child plays in a field of LED sugar cubes at night.
Visitors to 'Entwined: Elder Mother' can adjust the LED lights through QR codes as they have in years past. | Source: Eloïse Kelsey for The Standard

Entwined, local artist Charles Gadeken’s field of illuminated trees, will return to Golden Gate Park’s Peacock Meadow for the fourth time this winter—this time incorporating a separate work that made its debut at Burning Man.

The piece, composed of lights that resemble LED sugar cubes and gradually change color, was first installed in 2020. For each subsequent iteration, Gadeken adds new features, including a fallen tree that visitors can sit on or QR codes that allow people to build their own color patterns.

According to the San Francisco Parks Alliance, this forthcoming version will include Elder Mother, a metal tree sculpture that has six adjustable QR codes of its own. As SFist first reported, it was first constructed for the Playa at Burning Man and takes its name from a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.

Calling Entwined a "winter staple," the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department confirmed its return.

"The 30-ft metal sculpted tree carries a 25-ft canopy offering a place for park-goers to gather day and night with ever-changing, interactive illumination and color," the department said in a release.

Per the Parks Alliance tweet, the lights will be switched on on Dec. 7, along with the annual holiday tree at John McLaren Lodge immediately east of the Peacock Meadow. 

The combined Entwined: Elder Mother will run through April 2024.

As it will be installed near the JFK Promenade—the car-free section of JFK Drive—it will make for an uninterrupted string of public art along the promenade, from the holiday tree to the "NO DANCING" sign that went up in October.

As in years past, it is free to visit, although other illuminated attractions in Golden Gate Park have caused controversy for their high ticket prices, including SkyStar, the 150-foot Ferris wheel that recently reopened on Pier 39. Local media outlet 48 Hills also reported that a separate nighttime light show at the Botanical Garden this winter may charge as much as $40 for a ticket.