Knuckleduster's 7000 Oaks: A revisiting of Joseph Beuys' environmental intervention

"I wish to go more and more outside to be among the problems of nature and problems of human beings in their working places....I wished to go completely outside and to make a symbolic start for my enterprise of regenerating the life of humankind within the body of society and to prepare a positive future in this context.

I think the tree is an element of regeneration which in itself is a concept of time. The oak is especially so because it is a slowly growing tree with a kind of really solid heartwood. It has always been a form of sculpture, a symbol for this planet."

-Joseph Beuys on his installation project 7000 Oaks

7000 Eichen (7000 Oaks) was an installation project of seminal German conceptual artist Joseph Beuys, a long term intervention that was no less than a symbolic re-imagining of the planet and our part on it. 7000 Eichen was started in the city of Kassel as part of Documenta 7 in 1982, and completed in 1987 with input from schools, city residents, and other members of Kassel.

As part of the concert commission from Haus der Kulturen der Welt for the 2012 Uber Lebenskunst ("the art of surviving") program, Knuckleduster will undertake a new, independent implementation of this landmark installation work as a long term project over the life of the band. While touring, recording, and rehearsing, we commit to planting oak and other species of trees in urban areas around the world in keeping with Beuys' ideas about art, ecology and installation manifested in this project.

In the Knuckleduster version, we will also be creating short audio pieces to accompany each tree planted. In the original version, a piece of stone was placed along each tree, and the changing of the relationship of stone to tree was part of the long term experience of the work. Our version actualizes the idea of the stone/tree relationship through the crystalline medium of silicone---specifically, the silicone chips used in computers: Knuckleduster will create a digital sound work that will be paired with each tree. Online and in the real world, this version of 7000 Oaks will actualize the digital and analog realms through a complex relationship between nature, human-made environments, and the digital world.

When planted, the tree's location and photo will be archived and a sound work assigned, with an eye to sharing online with our community. As the project grows, so will the online archive. Photos of the tree plantings will reside here.

You can participate in this project by donating $1 or more via the paypal link below to fund a seedling (you will be prompted for an amount upon clicking the link). All contributions will be acknowledged, and you will receive the GPS location of your tree and a digital copy of sound work associated with it via email. Names will be listed on the Knuckleduster website.

For further information on the Beuys installation, see the link above and here, the DIA art foundation pages on the work (DIA was the initial funder of this intervention at documenta 7). more information on documenta is here.

We hope you will join us. Welcome.

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