Friday, July 3, 2015

"Blued Trees" overture launch

Storyboard sketch for Blued Trees video trailer edited by Denise Petrizzo
Over the next few days, I will add to this post to describe the Summer solstice event that has launched the overture for the Blued Trees symphony, in the style of a personal diary. - July 2, 2015

It was a long trip to the Blued Trees site. I headed down from Maine to New York Thursday June 18, 2015, leaving my cat, Bliss at 6:30 AM, in the care of my studio manager, Daisy Morton. I caught the 7: AM Ferry from Vinalhaven Island to the mainland, a taxi to the airport at Owl's Head, boarded a 6 seater little Cape Air plane down to Boston about 11: AM, where I took the shuttle to South Station to catch a Greyhound Bus down to Penn Station and then a taxi home to the Upper West Side. 13 hours after leaving my home in Maine, I unlocked the door to my apartment, back in Manhattan.

Early morning in Maine June 18, 2015. This is the world I want to save with Blued Trees.

I prepared myself for the event by making the rounds of alternative care providers to maximize my stamina to get through the weekend. There were dire warnings of Hurricane Ed hitting us hard with driving rain, floods and lightning predicted for the Sunday launch. I had already decided that this would be another opportunity to research whether CFS might model how to make efficient choices to reverse environmental degradation, regardless of the scale of the challenge. Hard weather always activates my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), leaving me extra exhausted and struggling to concentrate but I was already pretty pumped with adrenalin, even without a B12 push and a shot of a gamma globulin chaser on top of acupuncture. The night before I left, Jesse Etelson and Deanna Pindell had already sent me material from their Greek Chorus events as part of the overture.

Peekskill, I speculated, might be a confluence of "natural" gas and nuclear power that could either signal disaster or trigger awareness of the danger we are in with current energy policies.

It would be sentimental romanticism to presume that Mother Nature would make this easy. After all, the consensus amongst many is that she has been very angry with people for sometime. I thought this launch would be another example of learning to collaborate with nature rather then trying to dominate or exploit her.

Early Saturday morning I headed crosstown to catch the train from Grand Central to Peekskill. An hour later, Linda Leeds picked me up with Tania Barricklo. Tania shot a good video pan of the other side of the Hudson to the Indian Point nuclear facility and we went on to Nancy Vann's house to drop off my stuff, and take a quick look at the maps to orient ourselves between the measure I had designed, company easements and satellite imagery before heading to the site of the launch.

Videographer Denise Petrizzo drove up from the city and met us at the site about 2: PM. There were a few minutes of panic when we realized none of us at the site had Denise's number but she found us without any trouble. As we organized ourselves to begin the site examination, two cars of local residents with young families came by and asked what we were doing. We explained and they seemed delighted, promising to return the next day.

Then the four of us began walking the 1/3 mile measure to mark which trees would be painted. At first I felt very disoriented trying to jive where the trees were that needed painting with the satellite images I'd been studying for weeks. Eventually, I began to feel the pattern of logical distribution. by gauging the rhythm of our walking.

Soon, as we walked the site, the rain began in earnest. I was walking in lakes, sopping wet. Before we quit, Linda wanted to paint at least one tree, at the entrance to the site. We walked to the turn in the road that led to the site, chose a tree to make an opening note in the overture and began painting. As we worked, a tall man with a German accent jogged up and unlike the previous friendly residents, demanded we immediately stop painting. Denise turned her camera on him as he yelled at us. He screamed at Denise that she had to give him her video card, but she turned off her audio and told him he hadn't been recorded. Disarmed by our previous experience with residents, I briefly tried to explain our mission but soon saw he wouldn't be charmed or cajoled. Instead, he threatened to go to the Supreme Court to stop our work, declaiming that we were defacing nature like children making graffiti, he shouted about he authority of his opinions, exclaiming that he understood nature, what it needed and what art is and should be. We smiled and continued to paint. Eventually he left and we finished the evening's work. Both incidents with residents were heads up about what might come from a full symphony.

About 7: PM, Linda, Nancy and I went back to Nancy's to study the maps again. Denise stayed with us to shoot a bit more and then she went home to Brooklyn until 9: AM the next day.

From left to right, myself, Nancy and Linda trying to make sense of company maps that were very confusing to read, to confirm how the measure would be laid out between the easements. As I told them, if I could sing the spatial relationships, I would know the distribution was correct. Still from Denise Petrizzo's video documentation of Blued Trees.
About 9: PM, Linda and I quit working on the maps. Nancy had already retired. Linda and I were both exhausted. We went out to find me rubber boots for the expected rain the next day, and dinner.  It was already raining hard. We found a pair of boots for $13. on sale at Marshalls and then a dive of a Chinese restaurant for veges & brown rice with fortune cookies for dessert. I went to bed willing to roll with the punches of whatever Mother Nature would dish out the next day, trusting that whatever was to happen would be perfect.

I woke early Sunday morning to birdsong and sunshine that would segue back and forth between steamy clarity and light rain until midday and bursting with excitement. We headed to the site for the launch to meet the performers shortly before 9: AM.

To be continued. - July 4, 2015

If Blued Trees represents a paradigm of what needs to happen to change our relationships to biosystems, then part of that paradigm is accepting limitation. Two weeks after the launch, I am still recuperating from the exertion that launched the project. This tells me that efforts to create change and avert disaster costs high levels of energy investment, periods of patient rest despite the urgency of circumstances, and tolerance for and acceptance of the frustration that comes with the subsequent delays. Today I am back in Maine. It is sunny and beautiful and things are moving along, albeit a bit slower than I'd hoped.

The day of the launch, I was tremendously excited to see load after load of folks arrive from various places to participate in the painting. There was light rain but my shoes were still soaked through from the previous day. I was grateful for my $13. boots. Linda had the situation well under control, armed with water for everyone, she was soon efficiently mixing a vast vat of beautiful blue paint slurry and dispensing it in bright ultramarine buckets for the painters. We walked the site again and I double-checked the trees we had marked off to be sure they were accurate to the notes of the measure. We were joined by small waves of people, who were immediately set to work. I was delighted to welcome a cohort of Earth Guardians. I gave them all instructions as they joined us and as the morning progressed, my heart swelled with the excitement of the day: art might effect change. We could collaborate with nature to save us all. people really don't want to continue destroying the earth.

We had two confrontations. One was from a property owner along the corridor, whose land was leased to the pipeline company. The second was from our German friend from the day before, whose wife joined in screaming abuse, as they both threatened to call the police on us.

Earth Guardians (Christian, Aidan and Sam) pose with Nancy Vann and the trees they just painted as part of the overture launch for Blued Trees.

To be continued. - July 5, 2015

Monday, June 29, 2015

Post-launch, parsing common good, public good, public use and moral rights for "Blued Trees"

Detail from the June 21, 2015 overture launch of Blued Trees for the Summer Solstice in Peekskill, NY, where the projected Algonquin "natural" gas pipeline expansion would intersect the Indian Point nuclear plant. The slurry of ultramarine blue pigment and buttermilk that would grown moss, began the sine wave on each painted tree at the base of the trunk and reached as far as our tallest participant could paint, to evoke the course of precious clean water from roots towards the sky for the good of all life.
Last weekends' launch went very well, with about 26 participants, press, 6 international venues for the Greek Chorus and about twenty trees painted on the overture site in Peekskill. It concluded with a performance, which has been documented and will become part of a video. Soon, I will be assembling the documentation of the day. It will be filed for copyright protection with the purpose of redefining the moral rights of the art, where it intersects the contemporary meaning of public good.
Today, the Supreme Court should be ruling on the scope of the EPA's powers to regulate emissions. This morning, someone reminded me that today is also the anniversary of the notorious Kelo case on eminent domain takings for public use and questioned whether the phrase public good in referring to what Blued Trees address is appropriate? The Kelo case in the Supreme Court was a landmark case in the history of ruling that private land could be take for public use. The Kelo case and the EPA ruling both address this crucial question of what is public good in todays world?
Pope Francis has addressed these concerns about public good by asking the world to consider the common good as something beyond greed. Recently, some young people in the Netherlands have sued their government for endangering the common public good by not doing more about global warming.
The legal definitions of public good and use go to redefining the economic benefits of public good in public use. In an ideal American courtroom, a witness should be Robert Costanza, an ecological economist who has written extensively about factoring in the value of “natural resources” when calculating a fair price on the use of those “services.”
"The services of ecological systems and the natural capital stocks that produce them are critical to the functioning of the Earth’s life-support system. They contribute to human welfare, both directly and indirectly, and therefore represent part of the total economic value of the planet. We have estimated the current economic value of 17 ecosystem services for 16 biomes, based on published studies and a few original calculations. For the entire biosphere, the value (most of which is outside the market) is estimated to be in the range of US$16–54 trillion (1012) per year, with an average of US$33 trillion per year. Because of the nature of the uncertainties, this must be considered a minimum estimate. Global gross national product total is around US$18 trillion per year.  Costanza et al 1997
If the goal would be the Supreme Court, then Scalia’s love of verbal specificity is critical. I think Blued Trees might be in good company going forward, with many others setting new precedents. Today’s ruling on the EPA may be especially critical.
Re: Kelo decision: "the Court held that the general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth qualified private redevelopment plans as a permissible "public use" under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.” -wikipedia
"In economics, a public good is a good that is both non-excludable and non-rivalrous in that individuals cannot be effectively excluded from use and where use by one individual does not reduce availability to others.[2] Gravelle and Rees: "The defining characteristic of a public good is that consumption of it by one individual does not actually or potentially reduce the amount available to be consumed (used) by another individual” '. -wikipedia
"In philosophyethics, and political science the common good (also common wealth or common weal) is a specific "good" that is shared and beneficial for all or most member of a given community.
The good that is common between person A and person B may not be the same as between person A and person C. Thus the common good can often change, although there are some things — such as the basic requirements for staying alive: food, water, and shelter — that are always good for all people.” -wikipedia
"In its 5-4 majority opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court stated in Kelo that the government can never take property from one private party for the sole purpose of giving it to another, even if just compensation is paid. On the other hand, the government can always do so if the general public acquires some actual use of the property. The court has been defining the ground between these extremes since the late 1800s. From the start, "it embraced the broader and more natural interpretation of public use as 'public purpose,'" the court said in Kelo, and deferred to legislative declarations about public use and purpose. 

The Public Good vs. Public Goods

Economists recognize a difference between "private goods" and "public goods." Private goods are both "rival in consumption" and excludable. Rival in consumption means that one person's consumption of a private good denies others the opportunity to enjoy the good. The price of a private good is essentially a result of the good's scarcity, and some individuals will be excluded from consuming the good because they are not willing to pay the price of the good. Unlike a private good, a public good is both non-rival in consumption and non-excludable. The textbook example of a pure public good is national defense because if one U.S. citizen receives the protection of national defense, then others will necessarily benefit from that protection. One person's consumption of a public good does not deny others from consuming the good, and people can use the public good without paying for it. Because the additional cost of providing the good to another person is essentially zero (since all people can use the good once it is provided to one person) the market price for additional users would be zero, which would not be practical for profit-making firms, and the good would tend to be undersupplied in the market."

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Paint a Tree; join the "Blued Trees" Greek Chorus

How to Paint One Tree for the Greek Chorus

Whisk or mix until uniform:
3 teaspoons ultramarine blue pigment
and 12 oz full fat buttermilk (thick, spreads well)
Here's an alt: Squeeze a TBSP of lemon juice
into 12 oz of whole milk -- 
wait a bit for milk to thicken.

Outline the wave --- we used blue sidewalk chalk.
             The wave shape on each tree should be tall,
Wide, wrap around the tree and in proportion 
to the dimensions of the trunk.
(see pics on previous posts: www. pushing rocks. blogspot)
A three or four inch brush works well. Have a rag handy to wipe off the drips. (Or don't)
One coat produces a translucent wave,
A second, touch-up coat will make the color stand out more boldly.

See details for pigment and buttermilk sources in previous post.

Please send your documentation of your painted tree (trees) to:

Painting trees to make waves in the forest with Nancy V., Earth Guardians: Sam, Aidan and Christian. The Blued Trees  launch site is in the  corridor for the proposed Algonquin pipeline expansion for "natural" gas that would be installed 105' from the Indian Point nuclear plant facility in Peekskill, NY.
The Greek Chorus for Blued Trees is whomever is resisting the proliferation of additional fossil fuel infrastructure, anyplace in the world. The recipe to make waves with trees or the musical measure to make music with a forest as part of the Greek Chorus, is in the previous post on this blog.

Note: I am trying to be careful to use the word with about the entire project, rather than on or in because as long as we remember we must live with other species, humans have a prayer of survival on this planet, as Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change as a matter of the "common good."

In the next days, I will load examples from the Greek Chorus. From Florida, Jesse Etelson sent this description of two sites he will be painting with:

"Blued Trees Site: Mangrove Park, Indian River Lagoon, Stuart, FL. Mangrove Park is a mangrove tree forest preserve on South Florida’s Indian River Lagoon, one of the most bio-diverse and threatened estuaries in the world. The site is being encroached on by suburban development, poisoned by toxic water from Lake Okeechobee discharges, big agriculture and local runoff. The toxic algae blooms suffocate oyster beds, sea grasses and wildlife. Public health warnings at beaches and waterways plague economies based on tourism and send people to the hospital with infections, coined “River Rot”. EcoArtist, Jesse Etelson is currently working with community, scientists and engineers to develop EcoArt collaborations/interventions on the site to protect and promote expansion of mangrove habitat on the lagoon.

Blued Trees Site: Torry Island, Lake Okeechobee, Belle Glade, FL. Torry Island wildlife preserve is known as the headwaters of Everglades National Park and connects the lakes of Orlando, Kissimmee River, Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades, coastal estuaries  and Florida Keys. Torry Island preserve is the last 10% of glades marshland habitat remaining in the EAA (Everglades Agricultural Area), a clear cut wasteland of factory farms and shanty towns. The EAA and supporting water management structures exasperate Florida’s toxic water issues by blocking the southward flow down the watershed, fragmenting fragile habitats and adding GMO fertilizers into the ecosystem. Like Torry Island, land purchased/protected in the EAA can restore natural flow and interconnection of the entire watershed and provide economic opportunities for glades communities through permaculture (sustainable farming practices) and Ecotourism. In 2012, EcoArtist, Jesse Etelson directed, “Welcome Home Wildlife, Torry Island EcoArt Project” a collaboration with residents and landowners in the EAA to restore habitat and educate community through continued art intervention/engagement."

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Instructions for Participation in Blued Trees, Part III of three

June 21, 2015 “Blued Trees,”
will launch the overture for a symphony conceived by
Aviva Rahmani at multiple international sites.

Participating international artists and landowners will be announced.

This mage illustrates a portion of the proposed route of the Algonquin 42" "natural" gas pipeline corridor that would abut the Indian Point nuclear facility in Westchester County, New York. If there's an accident, the entire East Coast of North America could experience an American Fukushima. Internationally, similar fossil fuel infrastructure installations endanger the public good. Blued Trees is a symphonic installation for the silent trees that would be destroyed to enable the pipeline. Blued Trees challenges the legal definition of "pubic good" that legitimates eminent domain for fossil fuel infrastructures, with the moral integrity of art under the Visual Artists Rights Act. 
Mapping by Aviva Rahmani.

Art to challenge the amoral control of the world. Blued Trees score by Aviva Rahmani, mapped with Daisy Morton.

"Natural" gas is in quotes because the source is from fracking and the process generates methane. Advertising it as a source of clean energy is at best, a misnomer and as others have pointed out, the marketing strategy is comparable to how tobacco companies historically defended toxic practices.

The Blued Trees score is both a spatial map for installation and a musical composition.
Anyone may be a participating performer June 21, 2015 as part of the Greek Chorus for the Blued Trees symphonic overture. The goal of painting trees in a particular design on the surface and a pattern of distribution across distance is for the purpose of establishing a legally defensible copyright. The documentation of completing the paintings goes into a copyright package for filing, which would be done by at the federal level by attorney Patrick Reilly. Trees may be painted before June 21, 2015.

1 painted tree. Photo: Frank Spinelli


Simplified recipe for Blued Trees Painting a Blue Wave on One Large Tree

Whisk or mix until uniform:
3 teaspoons ultramarine blue pigment and
12 oz full fat buttermilk (thick, spreads well)
Here's an alt: Squeeze a TBSP of lemon juice into 12 oz of whole milk -- wait a bit for milk to thicken)

Outline the wave --- we used blue sidewalk chalk.
             The wave shape on each tree should be tall, wide and in proportion to the dimensions of the surface.
(see pics on website: www. pushing rocks. blogspot)
A three or four inch brush works well. Have a rag handy to wipe off the drips. (Or don't)
One coat produces a translucent wave,
A second, touch-up coat will stand out 

More information: 
If you plan to paint trees, other relatively permanent vegetation or a landscape feature that isn’t on your own property, please get written permission from landowners. You can purchase sufficient ultramarine blue (a non-toxic color) dry pigment and either fresh or powdered buttermilk to paint your trees or other plant species with stylized waves. The  casein slurry for painting could grow moss in a forest. Source for the pigment includes Dick Blick: Sources for buttermilk powder include Purchase a 4” wide house-painting bristle brush to practice painting. The wave shape on each tree should be tall, wide and in proportion to the dimensions of the surface, for example, 10' high by 2' wide wrapping around a good sized true trunk.  See the previous post on this blog to reference how the tree might appear after the painting

Music for Blued Trees.

The measure for the symphony may be repeated in various forms because it has been transposed into music. The measure may be repeated (iterated) and improvised on. The measure changes from a major to a minor signature to express hope. (The clip link records how I worked out the key change with my singing teacher, Debra Vanderlinde.) Performing the music or a variation on it's melodic theme is a way to participate in the score, which will also be copyrighted as part of the same Blued Trees overture. The documentation of performance will go towards effecting the strategy of taking back the justice system from corporatized malfeasance:

Progress of Blued Trees may be followed on twitter #BluedTrees. One note, one tree or group of trees is identified with the Blued Trees logo: