A treetop office in East London’s Hoxton Square park has more in mind than upping worker productivity by exposure to natural light and flora—it’s a political proponent for the rights of nature. Artist, engineer, and New York University professor Natalie Jeremijenko designed the lightweight structure together with artists Shuster + Mosely and architects Tate Harmer. The coworking space can accommodate six to eight occupants simultaneously and is outfitted with Wifi and a power supply. “As a place to work, I can’t think of a better office. It’s a beautiful, airy, delicious space in amongst the chaos of public space,” Jeremijenko told Fast Company. However, the concept’s cherry on top is the tree-as-landlord business model in that tenant's rents are reinvested into the maintenance of the park, the greening of the surrounding area and upkeep of the tree itself. The dollar value of a tree can be computed by quantifying its environmental “services.” These include improving air quality, sequestering carbon, and conserving energy use in buildings by providing shade. In New York City, the monetary virtues of a tree are a measly $400 for 80 years of service, but Jeremijenko believes in the message her project implicitly asserts. “By making it specifically about the tree and what kind of revenue the tree can generate, we’re really exploring a larger political discussion of what are the rights of nature,” she said. Jeremijenko erected a similar contraption in Berlin and one in Socrates Square Park, Long Island City, as part of the Civic Action exhibition in 2012. In a statement on the Civic Action website, Jeremijenko exhorted readers to consider her rhetoric: if the 14th amendment grants personhood to corporations, why shouldn’t trees be extended the same legal entitlement? “If non-human organisms own property, will that change their explicit value in a market-based participatory democracy?” she wrote. TREExOFFICE was launched during the 2 Degrees Festival from 1–7 June where Jeremijenko was the official artist-in-residence, but the outdoor office space is available for rent until December 2015. Use of the arboreal office can be booked online, while local community groups can reserve it free of charge on weekends. Renting a desk for a half day weekday costs $23, while the entire space costs $120.
Posts tagged with "Natalie Jeremijenko":
With buses running from the Lever House on Park Avenue, the Noguchi Museum was flush with Manhattanites last night for the opening of Civic Action: A Vision for Long Island City. The show of ideas by local artist teams—led by Natalie Jeremijenko, Mary Miss, Rirkrit Tiravanija and George Trakas—fleshes out urban dreams for the mostly industrial area. In anything but an autocratic manner, the show—the first ever at the museum to include contemporary artists and not Noguchi—encourages dialogue between large institutions, government, and the public. Columbia’s Gwendolyn Wright was on hand and praised the effort. “It’s not just an artist looking at infrastructure, but more of an exchange of information,” said Wright. “How do we see the gritty beauty of it, rather than ignore it.” To that end, George Trakas "River Shorline Walk" proposed lighting the Trans Canada power plant and building boardwalks in front of Con Edison substations. Mary Miss's red, black and white displays for "Ravenswoood/Call: If Only the City Could Speek" outline a think tank district where residents, engineers, artists, scientists and urbanists explore new ways of exchanging ideas about sustainable living. Rirkrit Tiravanija's "Greenway and Community Kitchen" envisions Broadway covered in drivable green grass with a community kitchen pavilion anchoring Socrates Park. (he said he just wanted to be able to have a coffee when he visits the park.) Natalie Jeremijenko shifts the show into high theory mode for "UP_2_U" exploring a "tasty biodiverse future" via "real-time 'smart city' technology" including among very many options a hulu hoop for seed dispersal. A good portion of the show is the locale itself. Getting to and from the museum resets the mind. LIC is nearly the size of all of lower Manhattan below 14th Street. Art and industry have been meeting at the river there ever since Noguchi and Mark DiSuvero settled in about 50 years ago. Perhaps more than anywhere else in the city a collaborative effort between the two is not only possible but highly desirable. As AN reported a couple of weeks ago that conversation is still in the early stages. The show is part exhibit, part advocacy: consultant Claire Weisz has even taken parts of it to the Department of Transportation for feedback. But as Wright noted the show presses more for a dialogue, not a monologue. Grassroots activism remains key, but so does collaboration. "Your voice will get hoarse from criticizing," said Wright. "But if a community does something in small specific ways, by creating moments for exchange, those moments become a catalyst."