14th December 2010
Biskop Gunnerus St, Oslo, Norway
I stood there for ages wondering whether to do it tonight. On the round about with the cardboard sign. Cars, buses, taxis, trams rushing by. As I made the sign a mounting excitement began welling up. I am a timid tree climber and timid ‘anarchist’. Well is it anarchy? I’m just leaving a message, like the billions of messages everywhere.
Actually I disapprove of advertising. Billboards, posters, lit up rolling signs everywhere you look. `constantly trying to tell you something like an invasion while you walk down the street. Weedling the messages into our heads… etc. It’s kind of rude if you ask me. You can’t even walk without being sold something. As if we need encouragement to waste our money.
I have thought about it. If people have made something really great they should be able to tell other people about it. On the other hand… not in my face when I’m having a stroll. If we’re going to have pictures everywhere let’s have something that stimulates our minds and souls… etc.
But now they’re doing it in the trees. Is nowhere sacred? So that has crossed my mind. Should I be a hypocrite? Leave more messages to bombard us with. Why not let nature speak for its / her / himself.
So I’m on the roundabout looking suspicious waiting with my cardboard sign. The odds of police coming past are getting higher all the time and I don’t want to get caught, not on my first attempt. So I’m wondering, should I put it off until tomorrow after all it’s a bit windy and the string is flimsy. It might rain too. A few excuses play back and forth round the bout in my head. So I finally thought sod it… and with the string in my mouth attached to the ad. I’m up and it’s in. Once I’m up there I feel invisible even though it’s all lit up and there are probably cameras everywhere.
Although this is Norway so maybe not. Feels like the first day i climbed a tree for this project. I wrote something like, “I thought to put this off until tomorrow…” and I’m so glad I didn’t on booth counts.
Feels like starting a new chapter. I was so chuffed, even if it blows down or rains , or no-one can read it – I still did it!
OK. So i hope it does stay up at least a day and people can read it. But if not a new journey has begun. Adding a new dimension is exciting. There’s definitely an edginess to scampering up a tree with a political message in the centre of a big city.
It’s like shoplifting, or knock and run except I’m shop leaving, – giving a little something to the shoppers. And I’m running – then the knock come afterwards. If it opens door for someone… a door of thought. OK, I took it too far.
The funny thing is just how small it is. My tiny handmade poster against this backdrop of corporate city wear. Oslo wears stainless steel, glass, stone and tarmac, all woven together as an efficient all in one but finished with jewels of light and sprinkle of trees… The revolution wears a small cardboard number, just a flourish of green paper and a rather idealistic but open handed message – rather a cheap T-shirt slogan to carry the design down the twiggy catwalk….
Towering above my effort is the Radisson Hotel. A 50 something floor scraper. My tiny voice in all this on a round about. It puts it into perspective. On the other hand – that postcard that always inspired me – a thousand people into the distance all looking at the reader, – each with a speech bubble saying “what can one man do?” I invite you to leave a message of hope or protest on behalf of a tree. It’s a crud load of fun. Send me your pictures and I’ll put them up here. What do you want to say to the world? What can 1000 people do? What can 100,000 people do… etc.
My message needs to be rooted to actions and personal change and I invite you forward to this too. God knows I need the encouragement. Like smoking, – the less people do it the easier it is to give up.
I was going to have one side of the sign read ‘This tree is growing in protest of Statoil’, (the National oil company here), and the other side read ‘This tree was sponsored by Statoil’, a recognition of oil’s role in making Norway Wealthy – the a capital W.
I may still do this at some point but my friend had a perspective of leaving a positive message. “It’s too easy to criticise”. So it became…
‘This tree is growing in the hope of change’
I like it! Thanks to my very good friend. So… Run and knock. Shop leaving. Or go political ‘Joy climbing’. (rather than riding…) Go for it!
What about John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s, ‘Happy Christmas War is over (if you want it)’. Maybe I won’t put a bill board in a tree on principal – then on the other hand… that would be fun. Anyone want to sponsor that? Get corporate and advertise! I’ve succumbed to it. I have a great product and I think people should know about it. Without 5 hundred grand for a TV spot – this will have to do.