I’m interested in the root of our troubles, the blockages to change and what a vital and inspired global world might be like. I don’t imagine I’ll get there myself but I’m naive enough not to have given up on Utopia.
(Or am I?)
It started seemingly randomly as a personal challenge, “I’m going to climb one tree every day for a year”. After two weeks I started inviting people to join me. Our conversations in the trees would turn to politics, the environment, childhood memories, science, maths, art, the pace of life, death, waste, romance, fresh ground coffee etc. Some of my companions included a band, a class of 9 year old children (who sang to me about trees), a shaman family, an anarchist, an anthropologist, a politician, an economist, professors, artists, poets, activists and 44 people at once, (including an 8 month pregnant woman!)
The project led me through 10 countries, onto a Norwegian chat show, into a 3 story tree house theatre, to being hoisted INTO a tree by the Fire Brigade, having my hair cut in a tree, staging my own death falling out of a tree, almost not needing to stage my own death by almost falling out of that very tree by accident, failing to impress myself with an attempt at political direct action, climbing the Trafalgar Sq Christmas tree before it was cut down in Oslo.
It all came to an end with a forest exhibition where a bird made a nest in my exhibit, and a Family Tree Party where I climbed with my estranged parents and the whole family was thrown out of the venue. Crikey!
It was a surreal and enriching adventure. Thank you to everyone who got involved.
I will be sharing my story with you, – bringing together over 1400 pages of my diaries, my reflections and research since it ended, the thousands of photographs, transcribed and edited conversations. In other words it’s becoming a book. Read more about the progress HERE.
Henrik G Dahle is / does:
Writing, art, directs theatre and film, builds wooden things. Is an anxty environmentalist with a smile, grimace and frown.
I’ve been pulling, drawing, and imagining the cart with and without a horse since leaving school. Always on the case with a project, worrying about ideas, rewriting scripts, lugging art to galleries, scrawling poems on tiny pieces of paper, planning to take over the world, staring at my computer screen, editing digital images and making stories with them, thanking and apologising to actors for their performances, whistling down the street, filling suitcases with smoke, travelling to Norway for the other half of my life, irritating people and making them laugh.
A bit of hindsight climbing advice:
- Choose the tree that suits your confidence or seems to urge you to climb up.
- Do a quick visual check and stress test of a branch before giving it all your weight. Feel the resistance, – the density, – the bounce. Some trees are brittle, some are limber… find out.
- Keep your wits about you. Take the time you need.
- Always have one hand or elbow holding or hooking something.
- Trees are amazing and beautiful and when you’re in them, if you get comfortable, it’s easy to forget you’re in a tree with just a few perches between you and the ground.
- Be extra careful when the tree is wet.
- Night climbing: We don’t want an eyeball to wind on up on the end of a twig, – wear goggles or a head torch, or be extra careful.
- Be brave and go for it, – after all you are a fabulous and terrifying monkey.
uptrees ( a t ) gauntlettandson dot com