At a kitchen table in 2010 I decided on my personal challenge: to climb a tree every day for a year (and maybe create a book about it). I climbed my first tree that night. After two weeks of climbing a tree every day I started inviting people to join me, recording our conversations on the branches. They would turn to politics, the environment, childhood memories, science, maths, art, the pace of life, death, waste, yeast cultures, romance, fresh ground coffee, transition, Utopia. Some of my companions included a band, a class of nine-year-old children (who sang to me about trees), a shaman family, a non-protesting protestor, a politician, a holistic economist, professors, artists, poets, activists and 44 people at once, including an eight-month pregnant woman!
Each tree was its own ‘stage’ and gave me a story, inspiring a new line of thought. I climbed in ten countries, found myself on a Norwegian chat show, in a three-story tree house theatre, was hoisted into a tree by the Fire Brigade, had my hair cut in a tree, staged my own death falling out of a tree, almost fell to my death from that very tree for real by accident, failed to impress myself with an attempt at direct political action, climbed the famous Trafalgar Square Christmas tree before it was cut down in Oslo. It came to an end with a Family Tree Party where I climbed with my estranged parents and a forest exhibition where a bird made a nest in my art.
It was a surreal and enriching adventure that helped me to galvanise my ideas for world change and gave me greater sensitivity to nature. I am now ready to fight for life.
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, or if any of us will, but I’m naive enough not to have given up on trying to reach a Utopia.
I will be sharing this story as a vibrant book – bringing together over 1400 pages of my diaries, my reflections and research since it ended, the transcribed and edited conversations I had with my co-climbers and a selection from thousands of photographs I took. Read more about the progress HERE.
In case you were wondering, I am:
An anxty environmentalist with a smile and a grimace. I write, create 2 and 3D visual art, directs theatre and film, build wooden things. I’ve been pulling, drawing and imagining the cart with and without a horse since leaving school. I juggle a string of projects, worry about ideas, rewrite scripts, lug art to galleries, scrawl poems on tiny pieces of paper, plan to take over the world, stare at my computer screen, edit digital images and make stories with them, thank and apologise to actors for their performances, whistle down the street, occasionally struggle to get out of bed, fill suitcases with smoke, travel to Norway for the other half of my life, irritate people and trying to make them (and myself) laugh while doing all the other good and bad things people do in this society.
uptrees ( a t ) gauntlettandson dot com