1-3 Oktober Who is Afraid of Activism: Maile Colbert, Michal Szostalo + The Tree Hugger Project

As an interlude to things past (last saturday in Mexico City and in Berlin), and things to come (in Boston, Berlin and Leipzig) Staalplaat Working Space in Berlin will host 1 to 3 Oktober Maile Colbert, Michal Szostalo, Wiktor Szostalo and Agnieszka Gradzik and sounds by Simon Whetham, with a performance on the evening of 2 Oktober. scroll down for more info on that). Field Recordings will be used in a completely different context. Because of its very special character, a presentation that by its artistic negations reaches out for a more worldly view, (as much down to earth as beyond the clouds) I will hand over the megaphone to Wiktor and Agnieszka first…


The Tree Hugger Project is an ongoing work of Environmental Art designed to both help us re-discover our relationship with Nature at a very personal and intimate level, but also to increase understanding and inspire an immediate action on the part of all of us to prevent the Global Warming/Climate Change and their catastrophic consequences.

In partnership with many people from around the globe, which includes artists, teachers, environmental activists and students of all ages, since 2005 we have produced over 17 Tree Hugger Project installations in many countries, including England, USA, Poland, Canada, Austria and in cities like New York, St. Louis, Vienna and Warsaw. Our pending invitations include Uganda, India, Iran and the Philippines and a growing list of cities in the US and Europe.
In Poznan, for the UN Climate Conference 2008, we created two installations: one on Wolnosci Square, showing a long line of people waiting to hug the last remaining tree on the Square, titled, “Lonely Tree, Lonely People”, and a smaller one on the grounds of the Conference, showing two “Chipko Women” embracing trees right at the main entrance to the Conference hall. Our works are created from renewable and carbon-neutral materials such as sticks, vines, twigs, branches and recycled natural cloth. They usually last 5 to 6 years and their eventual entropy is very much a part of our artistic message of leaving “no trace behind”.
Through these playful sculptures, that are getting increasingly serious, we invite people to embrace nature and each other to celebrate love and the re-building of our communities fragmented by political divisions, wars and uncertainty about the future. We are also making a very specific statement that the human caused global warming/climate change are possibly the most serious threat to our Planet and our human future on it. Only Trees remove greenhouse gasses that cause the Climate Change and we need to do everything to save every single tree there is, plant new ones and then, together, do everything else to save our planet.
We have been invited by the City of Poznan to go to Copenhagen, in December this year the site of next Climate Conference, where thousands, as a matter of fact, hundreds of thousands people from around the globe will converge to discuss how to fight Climate Change.
Together with Maile Colbert, Michal Szostalo and other artists and volunteers we want to add our own voice to this discussion and even more importantly, through our multimedia art we want to create a powerful symbol to rally people around the world to action to save our Planet. It is a great responsibility, but also a rare opportunity for artists to be at a forefront of such a vast political and moral movement with implications that will affect generations to come.

Okay. Now that every body is in the room, I will pass the word to honorable chairwoman Maile Colbert who will say something about the performance on the 2nd of Oktober:

In conjunction with sound recordings from sound artist and phonographer Simon Whetham, composer Michal Szostalo and sound artist Maile Colbert have collaborated to produce a multi-media, interactive performance with the sculptures for the 2009 UN Climate Conference. The upcoming performance and gallery show at Staalplaat for the Das Kleine Field Recordings Festival will provide a glimpse at what will be shown and performed in Copenhagen, and a fundraiser for the project:

The composition

will be primarily based on sonic symbols dealing with the
issue of climate change, and it’s unknown but surely devastating effect.
Recordings of ice flow, melt, crashes of ice banks and burgs,

crashes of old growth trees falling,

whale song and various underwater life, the sound of
the atmosphere and magnetosphere itself changing

…these recordings are part
of a sonic landscape that is disappearing.

The sculptures will be fitted with sensors that will react to the proximity of the audience, serving to remind us of the effect of our even most delicate treading upon the earth. The sounds emitted from the “tree huggers” when the sensor is activated will also effect at random the composition being performed by the sound artists, serving to remind us of our interconnectivity with all around us.

1 – 3 Oktober 14.00 – 19.00 hrs, The Treehugger Project, documentation and installation

2 Oktober start 20.45, end 22.00 hrs, performance by Maile Colbert + Michal Szostalo

Flughafenstrasse 38

U8 Boddinstrasse


One response to “1-3 Oktober Who is Afraid of Activism: Maile Colbert, Michal Szostalo + The Tree Hugger Project

  1. Your blog is so informative … ..I just bookmarked you….keep up the good work!!!!

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