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: https://vimeo.com/channels/94313
- 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.
- Mapping for all Blued Trees locations will be available at: http://www.gulftogulf.org/project_item/blued_trees/
- Instructions for painting trees are available at: http://pushingrocks.blogspot.com/2015/06/greek-chorus-for-blued-trees.html
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 www.ghostnets.com.