Tree Walk

Tree Walk

Sunday May 21 2017
Washington University entrance, Lindell at Skinker

In partnership with the department of walking |

This walk promotes the bodily experience of the Brookings Drive Pin Oak allée one last time. Participants will complete an orchestrated mediation between the vastness of tree body and individual body by materially mapping the interconnected condition between these beings. Each participant will partner with one tree, and begin their solo walk from that tree into the vastness of the allée — each establishing their individual trajectory, interacting with other participants and trees along the way. Pace, direction and interaction with fellow participants matter.

And so, while you begin at one tree – you go on a journey ultimately mapping out the constellation of trees and their interconnectivity that makes this landscape an allée. The material result is a mapping of individual paths, but also a mapping of interaction, and ultimately connectivity.



Tree Taste

Hacking into the final weekly

GAC happy hour to congregate

around this tree and sample beers

brewed with oak elements.

Tree Rule

“For and in consideration of the great love I bear this tree and the great desire I have for its protection for all time, I convey entire possession of itself and all land within eight feet of the tree on all sides—William H. Jackson”

The text engraved into a stone plaque that sits at the base of ‘The Tree that Owns Itself’. A tree in Athens, Georgia, that is accepted by the city as proprietor to its own land. Whether there is an actual deed in the tree’s name is unclear, however, this white oak has unprecedented autonomy in an age of exhaustive human ownership.

How can it be that trees, the largest organisms on earth have no sovereignty in our cities? At what point was this deemed necessary? How can we move on beyond the tourist attraction of a tree that owns itself to a re-prioritized chain of beings where trees are no longer considered entities of ownership, but instead an invaluable system of independent, life-giving organisms?

One way to remind one another of the significance of the tree is through the introduction of treeness; to encounter the tree and tree’s systems through a one to one experience. In relation with human body and tree body, we can begin to find sameness and variance. With connection, comes respect. With respect, comes prioritization and ultimately emancipation.

Ongoing Tool Inventory


By necessity, he or she uses a set of specific concepts, methods, and instruments that allow him or her to perform in a variety of contexts.

from Tom Avermaete, “Accommodating the Afropolis: Michel Eccochard’s Alternative Approach to the Modern City,” Informalize! Essays of Political Economy and Urban Form (Berlin: The Ruby Press, 2012) p.21.

And so we look for a tool to look for our contexts. In doing so, we redefine the existing meaning of these instruments and their contexts.

Danger Safety Tape is no longer just an instrument of defining danger and shedding risk. It also marks the extent of the page, defining an inside and outside, a participant and an audience. From behind the tape, an individual can ask questions verbally, communicating interest through watching. Inside the tape an individual can ask questions by taking action – physically digging a trench to locate the extents of a tree root. Perhaps the only synonym for context is frame. The danger tape signifies both a physical frame and provides other meta-frames. The tape signifies to our audience that this is a work zone : official, not to be tampered with, dangerous. It mimics something familiar of the fences further along the allée, another testing zone – material mockups for new buildings to be come. In turn, it sheds us a credibility and a stability. Not just a bunch of unhinged students devoted to a tree – which we completely are.

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