BioDiversiTree @OOTO Fest 2011

BioDiversiTree is receiving lots of powerful loving energy at this year’s OOTO Festival.  It has a much better location, and has already attracted some great visitors!  You can find it at the entrance to the Healing Area.

The team from Brighton Fashion Week are running installation at this year’s festival.  They’re building a wonderful, magical hang out in the forest, complete with art installations, xylophones, fairy lights, sofas, and yes – a canopy – if it rains.  In the evening the bird song is fantastic.  Quacking ducks create a non-stop, natural sound bed.

The crew are a multi-national team.  I’ve met people from Belgium, France, Columbia, eastern Europe, Australia and a full palate of Brits.   Alex, Sophie, Sam, Flo and Liz are key producers and have been terrific, giving 100% support to the tree.

Making the tree has truly been collaborative with lots of great energy generously given.

Making Bunting for BioDiversiTree, OOTO, 20/09/11

When I arrived on Tuesday evening, Gloria – who comes from Columbia, and has lived in Brighton for over 20 years – gave me a bag of polyester Hawaiian flowers and suggested I put them on the tree.  I was hesitant at first because everything that goes into the tree has to be sourced on site.  Gloria convinced me the flowers were sourced on site – sourced by her, to me, on site – so I could use them. 🙂 So, I spent Tuesday evening making flower garlands to go on the tree.

On Wednesday morning, in the pouring rain, James and I tramped through the woods gathering fallen branches for the tree. I'm wearing my newly decorated fisherman's raincoat - for the first time!

Marc dug the hole, to my exact specifications! and Will – no I think his name is Joe – helped wedge the branches into the ground. Darius and James helped carry the tree stumps to place around the base of the tree.

Then I found another branch in the woods, and Noel helped me carry it to the tree, and sawed off about 3 feet because it really was too long. The only branch that had to be sawed!


Getting carried away making Energy Catchers out of neon yellow string.

Then the decorating began! And I got carried away with the neon yellow string, pulling it into thin strands, tangled between branches to create the illusion of spider webs, or fairy hair – or Energy Catchers!

Lou helps decorate the tree.

Lou – who is making a growing flower in one of the cafes (you can make a petal to add to her flower on the wall of the café) came and helped me decorate and Joy, who coordinates the Healing Area gave me some solar-powered fairy lights – butterflies they are – to string over some high branches.

Next came some apples, which Ollie and I had picked – courtesy of Greenway Fruit Farm – on Tuesday after noon when he drove me out the site. A few apples still had leaves and little branches, so I’m tying those onto the tree branches.

An Apple Tree @Greenway Fruit Farm

BioDiversiTree grew from contemplation of the apple seed during a MaxMSP Jitter workshop I did at the Making New Waves Festival in Budapest, 2006.  After the festival, I started to visual doing installations, making a tree with materials sourced on site, and giving away apples in exchange for stories about apples, recipes, prepared dishes – the apple seed acting as a symbol Earth’s biodiversity.  Apple seed genetics are incredibly complex, and BBC reports scientists recently cracked the genetic code of the golden delicious apple – the largest plant genome uncovered to date.

The purpose of the tree is to offer a focal point for contemplation and meditation on the importance of protecting planet earth’s biodiversity and giving back.  We have a unique eco-system, with a wealth of plants that naturally occur on the planet. We take and take and take and we need to take time to give back. BioDiversiTree offers a symbolic time for that. By bringing your energy to the tree and giving it positive thoughts, gifts or donations you are making the act of giving back to the planet immediate and the tree immediately gives back to you, her apples are there for you to take. It’s done on an honor system. Last year I would come back to the tree and find all sorts of things tied to. People also got very involved with writing messages to the tree – using it as a kind of wishing tree, which it isn’t. The tree isn’t about wishing for something, it’s about visualizing in such a powerful way that you are able to manifest.

On Sunday at 1:00 pm I’ll be giving a workshop in the workshop tent.  Sounding the Seeds.  This is an opportunity for people who have come to the tree during the festival, who are interested in doing a focused, guided mediation on the theme of seeds to see if the seeds want to give expression through voice, movement and creative drama.

Oh yes, and on Saturday evening I’ll be giving a poetry performance in Phil’s bicycle powered performance venue. Not sure what time, some time during the evening, he says, before the band – who apparently have a really sweet-voiced singer. …and Ash is reading a 2 and a half-hour long poem on Friday evening!

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