Thursday, April 2, 2020

Links to published material on The Blued Trees Symphony

Blued Trees Links:

"Using ecological art to spark environmental conservation" interview with Kamea Chayne on the Green Dreamer podcast: aired July 11, 2019.

The Art of Protecting Lands: Aviva Rahmani a State of the Art podcast recorded April 8th, 2019

“Artist Series: Aviva Rahmani’s work with VARA, land use and environmental law,” The Art Law podcast, interview with Steve Schindler & Katie Wilson-Milne November 8, 2018

“Making the trees sing: Using art to try to stop pipelines” Day 6 CBC Radio Canadian Broadcasting, April 28, 2018

“Artist Blocked Pipeline with Blued Trees Symphony,” Earth911, interview by Mitch Ratcliffe May 7, 2018
May 26, 2017.

Interviews (with/without audio):
“One-on-One” in Canvas Magazine November/ December 2019 issue

“Conversations Aviva Rahmani’s “Blued Trees Symphony” A NYFA Interview posted September 20, 2018.

Edited Interview with Mitch Ratcliffe of Earth911: May 8, 2018.

Written articles:
Matuseviciute, Rugile. “Artist Uses Art To Stop Construction Of A Gas Pipeline”
April 26, 2018.

Sutton, Benjamin “Testing the Legal Power of Art to Stop a Pipeline”
April 24, 2018

Bajaj, Jaya. “Art, Copyright, and Activism: Could the Intersection of Environmental Art and Copyright Law Provide a New Avenue for Activists to Protest Various Forms of Exploitation?” Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property

Stambouli, Anissa. “Trash Talk, Eco-Activist Artwork and Sustainable Creativity” published by the online magazine, INSPADES December, 2016.

Rossi, Izzy. “Local Activists Use Art to Block Pipeline” Collegiate Times
November 19, 2016.

Lim, Audrea. “How Land Art Lived and Died to Stop a Fracked Gas Pipeline and How It Lives Again” Village Voice available at:
June 27, 2016.

Averett, Nancy. “An artist uses her creativity to fight the construction of natural gas pipelines,” Earth Island Journal online publication available at: June 16, 2016 originally published here:

Kaplan, Isaac. “This Nonprofit Is Willing to Bet That Art Can Change the World” Artsy, online publication available at: May 1, 2017.
Denson, Roger. “Earth Day EcoArt Confronts Deforestation, Fracking, Nuclear Hazards In Eastern US Woodlands,” Huffington Post online publication available at: April, 21, 2016.

Williams, Wes. “Landowners Put Hope in Art Project to Combat Pipeline,” online     publication available at: April, 19, 2016.

Rahmani, Aviva. “The Spirit of Change: Water, Policy and Ecological Artmaking” Center for Humans and Nature online publication available at: 2016

Gresham. Hunter. “Art Raises Awareness about Trees in Pipeline's Path” Virginia Tech website posting, available online: November 4, 2016.

Collins, Shay. Aviva Rahmani’s Blued Trees and the Fight Against Pipelines” The Cornell Daily Sun December 3, 2015.

Rahmani, Aviva. “Blued Trees on the front lines journal excerpts” The Brooklyn Rail available at: November, 5th, 2015.

“Using copyright law as an artistic strategy” by ikonotv on tumblr  September 30, 2015.

Blue Fractivism: The New Green by Tom Shepstone (natural gas industry shill) denigrating Blued Trees project:  September 20, 2015.

“Can Art Stop a Pipeline?” about the Blued Trees Project and “I Speak for the Trees, A Mock Trial”:

“Blued Trees”  Videographer and editor Denise Petrizzo

“PIPELINE - 19 - BLUED TREES”  Documentary by Marino Colmano.

“Blued Trees Music” First movement of a symphony for performance:
Other links:
Talking About Unspeakable Acts: Women, Art and Sexual Violence panel with Lynn Hershman Leeson, Suzanne Lacy, Nancy Princenthal (wav file recording:

Friday, December 28, 2018

Previews of Print Portfolios Now Available for Collectors

#1. A Beautiful View Series - Sugarlift Aquatints from 2010

 Individual prints are in editions of 60.

#2. Grasses Series - Monoprints from 2012 - 2016

First image: "26 Grasses"
Date: 2012
Medium: monoprint and aquatint
Dimensions: 8"x 24"
Edition of 10
Please click on this link to see each print in this series: 

Story of the first print in this series:

"I counted twenty-six different species of native grasses from alongside my dirt driveway around my birthday last month. I gathered them to make a palette. First, I created a soft ground monoprint, painting in with a brush a few shadows of the grasses that were placed in the ground. After printing once in translucent carbon black, I placed more grasses on the copper plate and we printed again in sepia. With each print, I felt like I was painting a monoprint story, having a conversation between the precious species diversity some of us are fighting to protect and my own willingness to participate with others in that struggle. The grass seeds survived the printing and will be planted where I originally found them." - Aviva Rahmani 2012

Enlarged views and further information on request:

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Mock Trial for The Blued Trees Symphony Almost One Year After Beginning My Fellowship with The Blade of Grass

When I received my fellowship, I identified that my most important goal was a legal test case for the premises in my project for The Blued Trees Symphony. While I waited for that opportunity, the Mountain Valley Pipelines went through the Appalachias like the Romans cutting down the Oak forests of the Druids.

Tree Killing Fields on Brush Mountain, VA April 2018 Photo by Aviva Rahmani

I wanted to challenge the categories protected by the Visual Artists Right Act under copyright law. I wanted to eliminate the boundaries between habitat specific environmental sciences and art that is integral to the local ecosystem. I wanted to press the development of an art that was profoundly synesthetic, a simultaneously symphonic and a vast painterly installation: sonified biogeographic sculpture. As it turned out, no lawyer was willing to venture into the courtroom without the case law precedents. So we are staging a Mock Trial April 25, 2018 at the Cardozo School of

These are more details to attend:

There will be several options for taking part in the Mock Trial April 25, 2018:

Be part of the live audience at the Cardozo School of Law, Wednesday 6:00-8:00 PM at 55 5th Ave., NYC. and then participate in the live discussion with litigators and witnesses afterwards.

Watch the live stream from the A Blade of Grass (ABOG) Facebook page with friends, colleagues or students, in real time.

Follow the ABOG twitter feed while multi-tasking.
Wait for release of the documentation of the evening by RAVA Films for A Blade of Grass TBA.
Argue with us in real time about how Earth rights and the spirit of art could merge to assert a new definition of public good in this Mock Trial. The Blued Trees Symphony, will be the plaintiff against a natural gas corporation bent on destroying art, habitat, and communities, for private profit. The trial will take place with real lawyers, witnesses, a jury, a real judge, a real decision and be followed by a conversation with the audience. The goal is to inspire other lawyers to establish new case law. The defense will be represented by Gale Elston and co-counsel Steven Honigman.

Learn more about the legal issues in this article:

Friday, June 23, 2017

Getting up to speed with "The Blued Trees Symphony"

I haven't posted here in a long time because getting work done has taken precedence over reporting on work done. My biggest news has been the award of a fellowship with A Blade of Grass:
The easiest way to keep track of my work on a daily basis is to personally friend me on Facebook (FB). Many personal comments are mixed in there with professional announcements, and I would welcome your presence. You may also follow The Blued Trees Symphony FB page. But occasionally there's something really important that's too long for FB. This is one of those occassions: my formal comments to the Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC) in Virginia to save the Blued Trees there. I am posting it below, because I hope that it will bring attention to an entirely new way of thinking about the relationships between art, environmental science, and the legal premises that determine public policy.
For anyone who has followed my work, you may know that The Blued Trees Symphony challenges conventional ideas about copyright law, as defined by the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA). In Virginia, where over 200 trees have been painted, environmentalists and supporters of this project have just submitted formal comments to oppose the Mountain Valley Pipeline there. There will then be a period of 45- 90 days for "injunctive relief," which means that work on that pipeline could be halted, and would save the Blued Trees in Virginia.

Please find below, the complete text of my formal letter to FERC, which was submitted yesterday.

June 21, 2017

Dear Ms. Bose,

I am writing as the lead artist and producer of The Blued Trees Symphony that is endangered by the path of Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia. I attach my cv and a list of venues where you can read further about this work. It has been internationally recognized, with appearances in Korea, the UK and forthcoming, in China. Additionally, I invite you to visit my websites.

In this letter, I want to try to explain the significance, meaning and value of the work I have created and plead for its protection under the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA), a division of copyright law. This work is an installation of art that extends across large portions of the landscape of North America, in increments of 1/3 mile each.

Technically, under VARA, this work falls under the category of sculpture, as a new sub-category of copyrightable art: sonified biogeographic sculpture. That is sculpture that is integrally designed to be inseparable from the local biogeographic systems that include the trees, soil and watershed of it’s location. Broadly, this work falls under the genre of ecological art, which is deeply grounded in systems science and has become recognized as a new category of work by art historians and curators.

My PhD is in a crossover field between environmental sciences, technology and studio art. My dissertation developed a theoretical premise: that small sites can be located whose implications for large landscape sustainability and healing is crucial. That original premise is trigger point theory, and the basis for developing The Blued Trees Symphony.

Each increment of this sonified sculpture, termed a “measure,” has been created at the invitation of private landowners for corridors where natural gas pipelines would otherwise devastate habitat and the watersheds that habitat protects. It represents replacing a dysfunction, global warming producing system that threatens the planet, with a system that sustains all life on the plant. The latter system recognizes our interdependence with other species and intact biogeographies.

In each community, local individuals have gathered to paint these trees as a celebration of the natural beauty they cherish, to hear the music of the natural world and to assert their ownership of the land they love. In upper New York State, performers of this work created a manual to instruct people in the painting, to assure that the work would meet the highest aesthetic standards.

The measures follow a template of designated distributions of trees that aerially corresponds to the notes of a reiterated score. Each designated tree becomes a soloist, a tree-note in a synesthetic composition. The trees are designated in their spatial distribution with maps and ground truthing the distancing to accommodate the unique biogeographic elements of each measure. Each painted tree-note in situ is painted by an individual with the sigil of a vertical sine wave whose dimensions are determined by the width of the tree trunk, winding around the tree so that the effect corresponds to the dimensions of the soloist.

Miles of these measures have been painted nationally with an ultramarine blue non-toxic pure pigment mixed with buttermilk to grow moss on the trunks of each tree-note and then copyrighted for protection. The development of this work, as often happens with art, expresses what many believe is a critical mandate for our times: how can art convey the yearnings of communities to feel connected to place, to celebrate the elements of their surroundings, and find hope to survive the extraordinary changes we observe in the Anthropocene era, this era when humans have transformed every living system on earth?

At a time when many people feel a desperate hopelessness and helplessness in the face of indifferent, monolithic corporate power, The Blued Trees Symphony has been a beacon of inspiration and connectivity in the communities where it has been performed and produced.

¥ The Blued Trees Symphony needs to be saved from destruction.
¥ Saving The Blued Trees Symphony means saving the community's environmental rights and cultural aspirations. ¥ This art redefines human relationships to water and the trees that preserve water.
¥ Beauty and health are more important than the corporate profits of multi-national fossil fuel corporations.

I respectfully submit this information you for your consideration and thank you for your attention.

Sincerely yours,

Aviva Rahmani, PhD
Attached: artists biography and cv
List of citations for The Blued Trees Symphony

For those who want to know more about recent work, please visit:

Recent Gulf to Gulf webcasts:
"Creeping Activism" 
"From the Ground Up"

Interview with Aviva Rahmani on the Environmental Art Podcast 

Raped by Monsters; Crossing a Rickety Bridge essay by Aviva Rahmani at:

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Archives of Early Work

I will be adding to and editing this archive post from a previous website that was dedicated to my earlier work. Currently, it is a fairly indiscriminate data dump. That will change soon. Some of this material is also represented elsewhere on the present site because the folder has not yet been adequately edited. When this post is complete, it will help people understand some of what has brought me to my present convictions about what my trigger point theory as aesthetic activism might be, and how it has become The Blued Trees Symphony. I encourage my visitors to do a quick scroll thru and find early performance and painterly works that may be intriguing. Meanwhile, here is a spectacular shot of my installation just completed for KRICT, South Korea, about 20'x30'up till May 31, 2017 in their new gallery.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Blued Trees Symphony update

From April 2016 until late November 2016, I juggled dealing with surgery, chemotherapy and adjusting to long term medications, while moving The Blued Trees Symphony project forward. I blogged extensively on FB about my journey, making analogies between what I was experiencing and how the whole ecosystem was struggling to adjust to pollution, fragmentation and climate change, and was pleased to have a chance to write about the broader context I see for this work: Thanks to Betsy Damon, Kate Cummings and Jeremy Ohmes.

The Blued Trees Symphony carried on. Under the direction of Robin Boucher, curator of Perspective Gallery at Virginia Tech, students and other volunteers painted almost 200 trees in Blacksburg, Virginia to resist natural gas pipelines there that would devastate local habitat and endanger the water system, and installed an indoor version of the material.

Trees painted on Chinkapin Hill, VA. November 11, 2016 for The Blued Trees Symphony

String quartet performing November 11, 2016 in the installation of the Blued Trees Coda
at Perspective Gallery, Virginia Tech.

Now under the direction of Anita Stewart, The Blued Trees Symphony is expanding along the Sabal Trail in Florida. Activists against the pipelines there have encountered serious opposition, allege extensive public corruption, and have seen inadequate investigative reporting.

In recent weeks, my attention was consumed by the drama of the American Election, and the horrors of assaults on Native peoples defending water rights at Standing Rock. I am still very focused on the travesties of justice being witnessed there, where the sitting governor and pipeline corporations complain that the Water Protectors are standing in the way of their ill-gotten gains from ignoring treaties and destroying habitat, not to mention, threatening life. It has been heartening to see the attention build to this disgusting display of greed and tyranny. While recently attending the American Studies Association conference in Denver, I had the great privilege of meeting and speaking with some of the amazing women from Oceti Sakowin. I found them very inspiring. 

This is where donations can be made:

My task as an artist is to continue the project as an artwork, and to continue to build the standing for legal arguments when and if we can launch a test case in the courts.

The Coda to the raw material for the symphony was intended to be gathered Nov. 8, with the Election. My intention was contain the experience, and it was performed at the Perspective Gallery, at Virginia Tech the following Nov. 11, 2016.  The genesis of the show was covered in the Roanoke Times:

Detail of installation at the Perspective Gallery, Virginia Tech

But it has turned out that post-Election events continue to unravel, and now I don't know how the resolutions will be expressed. What I do know, is that the symphony continues to evolve, along with national resistance to the voracious greed of natural gas companies, and the parodies of justice and good governance that abet and defend that greed. I know that art, like the prayer of those at Standing Rock, has an ineffable power of its own, and I intend to continue to yield it.