Saturday, September 26, 2015

Moving forward with Blued Trees

Blued Trees is moving forward with the next stage of the symphony, the First Movement, taking place at two new sites in New York State and sites in Virginia. They will launch October 4, 2015. The next legal steps are also being initiated to protect the site of the overture un Peekskill. I will post more soon.

Tonight I will be making an appearance at:

10 Thousand Steps Bookstore, 516 E, 11th, NYC
for a poetry event, where the Blued Trees film will be shown.

Some useful urls for Blued Trees now:


Please contribute to The Defense of Blued Trees:

Support the symphony:

Film (edited by Denise Petrizzo):

Sunday, September 20, 2015

For want of a shoe, the horse was lost. For want of a horse, the battle was lost. For want of a battle the war was lost ... or not?

All over but the shouting? I couldn't raise the $$ fast enuf or secure a lawyer brave enuf to beat their clock in Peekskill. They may or may not have succeeded in gaining permission to destroy the Blued Trees overture, but the project will carry on. 
Meanwhile, read this and weep for the sacrificed trees and the habitat that protects our water. 

They may or may not have won this battle, 
but this is going to be a long war.

The property the Blued Trees overture launched on has been taken by eminent domain by the Spectra corporation, and excavation, including cutting down the painted trees, is scheduled to begin October 1, 2015.

September 15, 2015, in anticipation of this possibility, I wrote some colleagues, "If we fail, I cannot emphasize enuf how important it will be to get the best possible photographs of each painted and copyrighted tree as they are destroyed. They are our Joan of Arcs that must become symbols of corrupted American laws created to protect the public domain from unlawful seizure, environmental laws designed to protect water, habitat and wildlife and copyright laws to uphold the rights of art and artwork; political malfeasance and dishonesty; indifference to beauty; and the media failure to alert the public to a devastating menace. One day, those photographs may be our only evidence to take these corporations to the United Nations for environmental war crimes. Sadly, it may be too late for the habitats, and many people who will be sickened and die from the consequences."

Eminent domain and the fossil fuel co-option of the United States has proceeded unchecked. But no longer, invisibly. There will be four more movements of the Blued Trees symphony. The first movement will be October 4, 2015 in Utica, New York. The sonata form of the symphony will be a dialog between life and death.

The deeper I got into the dynamics of fossil fuels the scarier it got and the more determined I felt to carry on.

Excerpt from my FB page:

“… was just alerted to this statement on another pipeline's public page, which just about sums up their arrogance: "FPL, Sabal Trail and Florida Southeast Connection, which are subsidiaries of NextEra Energy Capital Holdings, Inc., are multi-billion dollar entities that possess the power of eminent domain. Eminent domain allows these utility companies to condemn private property for easements in order to install their natural gas pipeline. These utility companies are represented in Florida by two law firms. These utility companies also have their own appraisers, engineers and other experts as they deem necessary working on their behalf to acquire the property for the pipeline." What I love is their semiotics: Algonquin, Independence, Constitution, Dominion, NextEra."

A colleague from the UK asked how this was any different than statements from Shell, Chevron, et al and whether I’d researched them? I replied, “not in depth. What I found stunning in the quote I posted was their language around eminent domain, which at least in the USA, is gutting the Constitution, even as they name their pipelines "the Constitution.”’ 

The reason I think this is important in a wider sphere is because the Reagan era “trickle-down theory,” has fueled the global .0001% phenomena, which in turn makes the potential effect of any given ecological art project, ie., Blued Trees, that much more of a David (or Davida) & Goliath contest to save the planet from ourselves.

I often find myself in conflict about the very making of art, because it requires us to enter such a reflective state, even as the planet is being tortured and we face such anguishing loss. These days, I work very hard at living in gratitude & service even as I feel my grief. This quote turned my head because it was so shameless in its evil. Perhaps, as I think you insinuate, they are all equally, shamelessly evil.

Another UK colleague asked how eminent domain is granted if there’s due process with the Fifth amendment? I answered that, “granting eminent domain is a legal process, which has become politicized and is well-funded by the right from fossil fuel coffers. Since the Eisenhower period in the USA, the right’s think tanks have devoted vast sums of money, time and manpower, largely from corporate coffers, to how to promote the military industrial complex to consolidate power.

1. For some decades, the right has been packing the judicial system with corporate friendly judges by financing their electoral campaigns and then politicizing those campaigns

2. For some time, the right has financed a marketing campaign that has convinced the electorate that fossil fuels cannot be easily replaced, therefore what is good for fossil fuels is good for the electorate.

3. The Federal Energy Regulatory Committee (FERC), which approves fossil fuel regulations has been manned by fossil fuel executives for some time

4. The left who has supported alternate world views, has been disorganized, fraught with egocentric competitions and short-sighted about strategic planning

5. The American educational system has been gutted, making it easier to promote agendas based on shallow thinking

6. The Supreme Court of the USA has declared corporations are individuals with rights of free speech and unlimited political funding potential, greasing all of the above

7. American loved R. Reagan and swallowed the trickle down theory.

8. Racism has fueled environmental injustice, so natural gas lines, for example, when located in poor, often back communities, are uncontested. veiled by promises of jobs, that are short term and usually destroy the ecosystems and communities

9. The media has been gutted, people don’t have time to read, so reporting on these matters has essentially disappeared or is ignored or buried under pr.

Functionally, what happens is a corporation applies for a permit to FERC to do something. FERC approves (rubber-stamps) the permit. Work begins, often before eminent domain is granted. Landowners are offered money, often large sums, to give up their land. When problems emerge, having granted easement, they can no longer legally protest without risking jail. Holdouts are then shunted thru the courts, who routinely condemn the land for the “public good.” Often personal threats accompany this process. 

In Blued Trees, I went into debt to get an LLC, to afford myself minimal protection. So far, I’ve spent $20,000, of my limited funds to go forward. The legal process, just to begin, will cost $80,000. I have 2 crowdfunding campaigns to try to raise the funds to go forward. The corporations accelerated the condemnation process on lands where Blued Trees was or will be installed. “Normal” citizens don’t have any of these options to fight back any of this. Et voila, eminent domain prevails over the Fifth amendment.”

This is what taking people's property for profit and planetary destruction looks like, now that the judgement on the land for the "Blued Trees" overture has come in:
"Plaintiff Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC ("Algonquin") has filed 22 related cases for
eminent domain actions in connection with its construction of a natural gas pipeline. In each 
case, Algonquin seeks an Order of Taking, declaring that it has the substantive right to take the
permanent and temporary easements on the properties that it seeks to acquire.
 Of the 22 cases, 16 have settled (3 by entry of an Order of Taking; 13 by voluntary
dismissal pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(l)(A)(i)) and 1 by stipulating to a
partial settlement). Algonquin has moved for partial summary judgment against defendants in 5
of the 6 remaining cases. The time for responding to these motions has passed for all 5 of these
cases; only the Reynolds Hills Defendants, in Docket No. 15-cv-5988, have filed any opposition
For the reasons set forth below, all of the motions for partial summary judgment are 



Algonquin was designated and approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
("FERC") to construct and operate a natural gas pipeline and associated facilities in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Pursuant to the Natural Gas Act, 15 U.S.C., §717
et seq., (the "Natural Gas Act", or the "NGA"), FERC issued a Certificate of Public Convenience
and Necessity (the "FERC Certificate") on March 3, 2015, authorizing Algonquin to construct
what is referred to as the Algonquin Incremental Market Project ("AIM Project").
The Natural Gas Act explicitly authorizes a natural gas company like Algonquin to
acquire property interests by condemnation when it is unable to acquire them by agreement with 
the property owner. 15 U.S.C. § 717f(h). Thus, Algonquin filed a Verified Complaint to acquire
easements needed to construct the AIM Project on various parcels of property ("Property")
owned by various defendants.
Completion of the AIM Project is time-sensitive. FERC directed that project
construction be completed by November 1, 2016. Algonquin asserts that the easements it seeks
must be acquired in time to allow pre-construction preparation to begin no later than October 1,

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Hot off the press about "Blued Trees"

So thrilled to share the first significant press in the widely circulated and respected Hyperallergic by Jillian Steinhauser, about Blued Trees and the multi site October 4, 2015 launch of the first movement:

 Please read and share:

Hyperallergic headline on "Blued Trees"


Monday, September 7, 2015

"Blued Trees" Fact Sheet

Blued Trees
Multi-Form Permanent Art Installation
Conceived Of By Ecological Artist Aviva Rahmani

Blued Trees Stands in the Path of Gas Pipeline Expansion on Private Land Seeking Copyright to Protect the Art, Hence the Land

Second Phase of Installation Slated for October 4

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world;
indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead


Please see previous posts for more information and visuals.

A five minute film of the Blued Trees “overture” launch can be viewed at:

  • Blued Trees is a site-specific permanent artwork installed on private land in the path of the Algonquin natural gas pipeline in New York State. The project was conceived of by ecological artist Aviva Rahmani at the invitation of New York residents-cum-activists faced with fossil fuel corporations expanding pipelines through their properties. The Algonquin pipeline, owned by the Spectra Corporation, passes within 105 ft. of the Indian Point nuclear facility, in Peekskill, 30 miles from New York City.

  • The artwork consists of a number of trees, painted with a slurry of non-toxic ultramarine blue pigment and buttermilk, designed to grow moss, in the pattern of a vertical sine wave. If perceived aerially, the trees designated for painting represent “notes” in a symphonic score, and are accompanied by a “Greek Chorus” of painted trees and music at other sites.

  • Spectra is now moving to condemn the land the art is on by eminent domain and begin excavation of the site in October. Rahmani has filed a federal copyright to protect this site-specific artwork and related domestic and international “Greek Chorus” sites of painted trees and music that were simultaneously initiated as part of the “Overture.”

  • The Blued Trees “Overture” launched June 21, 2015, in Peekskill, NY. The property owners on whose land Blued Trees sits have received notification that their land will be condemned. The intended imminent excavation for the pipeline expansion is among many other pipeline projects that are planned and being permitted across the country.

  • For the “Overture,” the bark of approximately twenty designated trees within the pipeline corridor was painted with a blue sine wave, beginning at the tree's roots, and winding up the trunk. The Blued Trees artwork is integrated with the trees and all living things on and in the soil of the site.

  • To make the musical composition, each painted tree was mapped to become a “note” in the Blued Trees score. The distribution of the trees in the “Overture” corresponds to a measure of music which can be played or sung as a melody. Each measure, 1/3 mile, of the symphonic installation is simultaneously an aerial map and a musical score.

  • The first movement of a larger “Symphony” is planned for October 4, 2015. On that date, at 5 sites locally and internationally, approximately 75 additional trees will be painted, the project will be performed and documented to expand the sphere of protection. When the human performers leave, the installation remains with the trees as a permanent work of art.

  • The “Greek Chorus,” trees that have been painted with the blue sine wave in other locations, could be protected by copyright as part of Blued Trees, so long as they each conform to the same design concept. “Greek Chorus” sites so far have included Washington, Florida, Virginia, and Lisbon, Portugal.

  • Blued Trees endeavors to prevent the destruction of the habitat and artwork embedded into the habitat, as well as the danger of a nuclear accident. The project is a bold, innovative strategy to redefine public good by protecting the integrity of art and nature. A legal basis for that protection is the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA), which asserts the “moral rights of art” against destruction.

  • The currently filed US Copyright Registration Application is for elements of the "Overture,” launched in Peekskill, New York. This application will be the heart of the first Cease and Desist Demand to be addressed to Spectra Corporation. The demand is intended to prevent an October excavation, and would include the Greek Chorus for that launch. This registration will likely be the first of two filings. A second copyright registration application filing will include additional work to be completed elsewhere October 4, 2015.

  • The project is raising funds now for the legal process that could stop the proceedings before the scheduled date to break ground for the Algonquin pipeline expansion. This would begin a process of pitting copyright law against condemnation by eminent domain takings in the name of public good. If sufficient funds are raised, the legal team would address the overlap between copyright and eminent domain law. The proposed legal actions might lead to a redefinition of the public good.

  • To date, new locations for the full “Symphony” have been secured in 3 states with committed artists spearheading each of the installations. Some artists who have confirmed they will be painting measures of land in the path of the expansions include: Deanna Pindell, Wash., Toshia Hance, N.Y., and Robin Boucher, Va.

  • Blued Trees is an element or aspect of Gulf to Gulf, a fiscally sponsored NYFA project, which has investigated how art might impact climate change policy since 2010.

About Aviva Rahmani

Ecological artist Aviva Rahmani’s art work has reflected environmental and social concerns throughout her career. Her projects range from complete landscape restorations to museum venues that reference painting, sound and photography. Early influences on her work include interdisciplinary classical studies, activism, city planning and the merging of science with aesthetics. Aviva Rahmani is an affiliate at the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Plymouth, UK, has exhibited and published internationally and has been the recipient of numerous grants. I am recommending her because she is using art to effect environmental change in innovative ways. Her most recent work, Blued Trees launched June 21, 2015. It contests the definition of eminent domain with the moral rights of art. More information is available at

Press Contact:
Margery Newman, 212-475-0252